Massage and special treatment licence

Back massage

Information about which activities and services require a special treatments licence and how you should apply.

Special treatment definition

A 'special treatment' premises is where a person receives:

  • Acupuncture
  • Cosmetic-piercing
  • Massage
  • Semi-permanent make-up
  • Tattooing
  • Chiropody
  • Electrolysis
  • Pedicure
  • Manicure
  • Reflexology
  • Sauna
  • Steam room; and
  • Sunbed treatments

It is illegal to operate or advertise for special treatments without first obtaining a licence from the Council.


Apply for a massage and special treatment licence

Licensing of special treatments

1. Applications must be made at least 35 days before a premises operating, or the licence is due for renewal.

2. Changes in the owner, practitioners or treatments provided in the middle of an existing licence, all require amendment to the licence and approval by the Council.

3. Members of certain professional bodies, may PDF logoapply to the Council for an exemption.

Fees and charges

4. A non-refundable fee of is payable. A special treatment licence will run from 1 April until 31 March each year.

Pound sign logo
  • Single treatment (renewal) = £247.50 reduced to £196.00 if paid before the licence expiry date plus 10 working days
  • Single treatment (new application) = £196.00
  • Multiple treatment (renewal) = £362.00 reduced to £300.00 if paid before the licence expiry date plus 10 working days
  • Multiple treatment (new application) = £300.00
  • Variation = £74.00
  • Transfer = £72.50
  • One day licence = £65.00


5. The Council must consult the Police and Fire Service about each application received.

Practitioner competency and licensee fitness

6. Treatments are given by persons who are approved by the Council. The Council will only approve people that are appropriately qualified and experienced. Checks are also made to ensure that every qualification certificate received is authentic and checks are made for any previous criminal convictions against the licence applicant.


7. It is an offence for any person to administer or advertise the availability of a special treatment without a licence; unless there is an exemption in force. Any person found guilty of an offence may be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £2,500.

More information

8. Copies of the London Local Authorities Act 1990. Part II can be purchased from the Legislation website.

9. For more information or advice, please contact the Licensing Team on 01708 432777.