Massage and special treatment licences

The council licences those who carry out special treatments under Part II of the London Local Authorities Act 1991.

If you run an establishment for 'special treatments' you may require a licence for your premises. Special treatments include:

  • massage
  • manicure
  • pedicure
  • facials
  • nail extensions
  • acupuncture
  • tattooing
  • body piercing
  • cosmetic piercing
  • chiropody
  • light, electric or other special treatments of a like kind such as sunbeds, vapour, sauna or other baths.

Applications should be made to the council and may be subject to a fee .  Licences are granted for a maximum period of twelve months.  This being the period from 1 April - 31 March of the following year.  Licences are granted subject to conditions and Ealing Council's MST rules of management .

The licence may be required in addition to a skin piercing or tattooing licence granted under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

Eligibility criteria
The council may refuse to grant, renew or transfer a licence on any of the following grounds -

  • the premises are not structurally suitable for the purpose
  • there is a likelihood of nuisance being caused by reason of the conduct; management or situation of the premises or the character of the relevant locality or the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put
  • the persons concerned or intended to be concerned in the conduct or management of the premises used for special treatment could be reasonably regarded as not being fit and proper persons to hold such a licence
  • the persons giving the special treatment are not suitably qualified
  • the premises have been or are being improperly conducted
  • the premises are not provided with satisfactory means of lighting, sanitation and ventilation
  • the means of heating the premises are not safe
  • proper precautions against fire on the premises are not being taken
  • they are not satisfied as to the safety of equipment used in the special treatment or as to the manner in which the treatment is to be given
  • satisfactory means of escape in case of fire and suitable means for fighting fire are not provided on the premises 
  • the applicant has, within the period of five years immediately preceding the application to the borough council, been convicted of an offence under this Part of this Act or 
  • the applicant has failed to comply with the requirements of subsection (4) or (6) of section 7 of the London Local Authorities Act 1991 Part II

Regulation summary
London Local Authorities Act 1991 Part II.

Application evaluation process
An officer of the council will inspect the premises before granting a new licence to ensure suitability, this inspection may include officers from the London Fire Brigade or Police.

All new applications must be accompanied by supporting paperwork.  This includes:

  • relevant and suitable qualifications for the special treatments to be provided
  • electrical periodic certificate for all fixed wiring
  • portable appliance test (PAT) or invoices for any equipment under one year old
  • public liability insurance and employers liability insurance certificate if applicable
  • waste disposal agreement

Tacit consent
Tacit consent does not apply, which means it is in the public’s interest that the council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the council within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service.

Apply online at Business Link

Apply for a special treatment licence
Tell us about a change to your existing massage and special treatment premises

Apply by post

Please print out the relevant forms:

MST application for a licence
MST rules of management

Please send the application form and supporting documents to:

Licensing team, Regulatory Services,  Perceval House, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, Ealing W5 2HL
Tel: (020) 8825 6655

If you would like to receive a copy of your licence via email please fill in the licence copy request form and email to

For exemptions, please contact the licensing team.

Redress for failed applications and licence holders
Please contact the licensing team if you wish to discuss an application, decision or consent. Any applicant who is refused a licence has the right of appeal to their local magistrates court within 21 days.

Consumer complaints
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made directly with the trader – preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If unsuccessful please contact the licensing team.

Trade associations
Some professional organisations are exempt from the requirement for a licence.  For members of organisations to be exempt from the requirement to hold a licence the organisation must comply with the requirements of Part II Section 4(b)(ii) of the above stated Act and provide proof of this compliance to the Licensing Authority. 

Examples of some of the professional organisations which are exempt from the requirement for a licence are as follows:

  • The British Acupuncture Association.
  • The Royal Pharmaceutical Association.
  • The British Association of Electrolysists. 
  • The International Federation of Aroma Therapists.
  • The Internal Federation of Reflexologists 
  • The Shiatsu Society.

If you are a member of a professional body, please contact us and we will advise you if you are exempt.  If you are in an exempt professional organisation, you still need to tell us which organisation you belong to, and give us your membership details. 

For more information and advice please  contact us.

Licensing team, Regulatory Services,  Perceval House, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, Ealing W5 2HL
Tel: (020) 8825 6655

As discussed previously with you BABTAC is not on the agreed exempted list and since I have been in post and dealing with MST’s has never been accepted as exempted by Ealing.

Also very confusingly Federation of Holistic Therapists is exempted but the British Association of Skin Camouflage is not.

It would be better to advise for persons with a query as to exempted organisation to contact our Processing Team to enquire – full stop (remove all the underlined organisations).

Generally following an application from an organisation to be exempted this is voted on by the Pan London group.  The organisation must be able to show that they have systems in place to be self-regulating and therefore do not need a licence under Local Authorities Act 1991.

Whoever has put the information up on the web page has not differentiated properly between the exempted organisations by reason of self regulation and the alternative exempted by the Local London Authorities Act 1991 as a medical practitioner.


A medical practitioner duly registered by the General Medical Council; or


Any bona fide member of a body of health practitioners which has given notice in writing to the borough council that it—


Has a register of members;


Requires as qualification for membership qualifications by way of training for, and experience of, the therapy concerned;


Requires its members to hold professional indemnity insurance;


Subjects its members to a code of conduct and ethics, including a prohibition of immoral conduct in the course of their practice; and


Provides procedures for disciplinary proceedings in respect of its members;

and has supported that notice with satisfactory documentary evidence, if required by the council; or


In the case of acupuncture, a dentist registered under the [1984 c. 24.] Dentists Act 1984;

Illegal to administer anaesthetic to a client unless medical practitioner

1)    The second part of the query is very simple to answer if you have read the Rules of Management (e.g.p.7) unless you are a qualified medical practitioner it is never ok to supply or administer anaesthetic whether this is by way of crème or needle.

PART II – Conditions applicable to all premises

13)        Anaesthetic

“It is illegal for anyone other than a Doctor of medicine or a qualified nurse under such a Doctor’s supervision to administer anaesthetics or any sort to a client.”