Massage and special treatment licences

Under the London Local Authorities Act 1991 a licence is required when you provide or offer special treatments commercially from premises or from your home situated in the London Borough of Hounslow.

If you run an establishment for special treatments in the London Borough of Hounslow you may require a licence for your premises issued by the council under the provisions of schedule II of the London Local Authorities Act 1991.

Special treatments include, but are not limited to:

  • Tattooing, including micropigmentation
  • Cosmetic piercing including ear piercing
  • Massage treatments including aromatherapy and reflexology
  • Electrical treatments such as hair removal by electrolysis and galvanic/faradic treatments
  • Nail treatments including manicure and pedicure
  • Light treatments such as sunbeds, lasers, intense pulse light treatments
  • Sauna, steam, spa–pools or other baths
  • Acupuncture
  • Facials
  • other such similar treatments

Licenses last 12 months from 1st April to 31 March each year.

It is illegal to offer / provide or advertise special treatments without a licence.

If your treatment is not listed it may still be licensable. More detailed information on licensable special treatments can be found in our guidance

About a premises licence

A premises licence is issued in respect of specific premises and specifies the categories of treatments that can be carried out on the premises.

A premise licence is:

  • Valid for one year, unless revoked
  • An application must be made annually to renew the licence before the date of expiry of the existing licence, otherwise a new application will need to be submitted
  • A licence may be varied
  • A licence may be transferred to a new licence holder but not to a new premises
  • An application for a new licence, the renewal of a licence, the transfer or variation of a licence must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.
  • We are required to give notice of your application to the local police. We must also send a copy of the application to the London Fire Authority, Health & Safety and the Council’s Planning Department.
  • You will also be required to display a copy of a Notice of Intention to offer treatments in the window of the premises (this will be provided with your application pack).
  • A fee is payable for the grant, renewal, variation and transfer of a licence.

You do not need a licence if you only carry out treatments in a client's own home provided the treatments are given only to the client.

Before you apply

You should view our standard terms and conditions and documents for more information.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the UK NARIC recognition agency function has to change from a NARIC (which is an EU-only title) to an ENIC (the wider European title for national recognition agencies) in order to meet the UK's continuing treaty obligations under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. Therefore, on 1 March 2021, the UK NARIC agency title became UK ENIC.

If your therapist has foreign qualifications, we require a UK ENIC (formally UK NARIC) letter sent with the application. Al link to the website can be found here (Home Page ( The statement of comparability can be found here(Statement of Comparability (

How to apply for a licence

To apply for a licence you'll need to download and complete one of the applications forms

Other useful documents


Exemptions under the Act

The law allows certain exemptions from the need for a licence. These are:

  • Any premises which are not used for gain or reward.
  • Any premises where the special treatment is carried out by or under the supervision of:
  1. A medical practitioner registered by the General Medical Council, or
    ii) Any bona fide member of a body of health practitioners approved by the Council,
    iii) In the case of acupuncture, fully registered with the British Accupunture Council
    iv) In the case of osteopathy, a person registered as a fully registered osteopath or a conditionally registered osteopath under the Osteopaths Act 1993,
    v) In the case of chiropractic, a person registered as a fully registered chiropractor or a conditionally registered chiropractor under the Chiropractors Act 1994,
  • Any premises used by a person who is registered under the Health Professions Order 2001 solely for the practice of the profession in respect of which he is so registered and of the conduct by him of any business ancillary to such practice and no other purpose.
  • Any public hospital.
  • Any nursing home.
  • Any premises where the treatments provided are not classified by the borough council as Special Treatments.

The legislation does not list bodies of health practitioners. Each body needs to apply to the borough where they want their members to be exempted.

In order to make this process easier, most London Boroughs agree a list of Exemption list via the London Special Treatment Group. Hounslow Council has adopted this list. If your body does not appear on the list, or you are offering treatments not covered by the body, then you will need to be licensed.

If you feel you may be exempt from licensing or registration you will need to fill in the exempt form, provide a copy of the current membership certificate for your professional body, a copy of proof of identity (passport, driving licence or other approved photo identification), a copy of your Public Liability Insurance with a minimum cover of £2 million that states the treatments you are providing plus if you hold an overseas qualification the UK NAIRC to state your qualifications. We will then determine your exemption status. A therapist registration application form should also be completed and submitted.

Processing and timescales

The applicant will be contacted by an officer to ensure that they are qualified and competent and the premises may be required to undergo an inspection to ensure it complies with the Standard Terms and Conditions, all relevant hygiene, health and safety regulations.

If the inspection is satisfactory, the details are added to the register and the licence will be granted and issued within 28 days of receiving the application.


Please note that fees for Special Treatments are payable in two parts: The Application fee is payable when you submit the application form and the licence fee is payable when your licence is granted. You will not be allowed to trade until BOTH parts of the fee have been paid. The Application Fee is non-refundable, even if your application is refused. You are welcome to pay both parts of the fee when you apply. If you do pay both parts of the fee at the application stage and your application is refused, you will be refunded the licence fee.

Refusal of Application

Your application may be refused for one of the following reasons:

  • the premises are not suitable, if it does not have safe heating, satisfactory lighting, sanitation, ventilation and does not have adequate fire precautions including fire fighting equipment and fire escapes 
  • there is a likelihood of nuisance being caused in the area 
  • the person who will manage the premises is not fit and proper 
  • the people giving the treatments are not suitably qualified 
  • the safety of equipment is not satisfactory 
  • there is question as to the safety of the treatment being given 
  • you have been convicted of particular offences 
  • you fail to comply with any legal requirements.


Contact us in the first instance via  email

Contact us

Telephone 0208 583 4711

London Borough of Hounslow
Hounslow House
7 Bath Road
​​​​TW3 3EB

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