URGENT!! Keep your massage therapist from closing!
LookBeforeYouBookAMassage.com Please visit this volunteer organized website for more information on how to protect yourself and the public.
In Raleigh? Join us on April 19th to protest the changes proposed by the Board. https://www.facebook.com/events/2137169223197009/
Recently the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (NCBMBT), the licensing board for massage therapists in North Carolina, proposed a large number of changes to how massage and massage businesses operate in North Carolina.
The intention behind them is good- to reduce the human trafficking cases involved in shady ‘massage parlours’ who use our generally positive public standing as a front for their illegal and demeaning activities.
However, the execution of these intentions, as proposed by these changes, may be devastating to the industry in this state.
The most important proposals are as follows:
An establishment license for any company with more than one therapist working in a space, whether single office or multiple. (SECTION .1000 MASSAGE AND BODYWORK THERAPY ESTABLISHMENT LICENSURE) This includes necessities such as:
30.1004.8 “Copies of reports from city or county inspections for fire, safety, health, and sanitation, made within the three months prior to submission of application for approval;” This is potentially 4 separate and additional expenses, which should have already been handled by the landlord, NOT your massage therapist. Additionally, many cities are 3-6 months behind and do not allow scheduling of appointments. There is no way to tell if your inspections will happen in the 90 day window allowed.
30.1004.5“Facility plan, including floor plans with dimensions and fixtures, uses of each room, specifications on lighting, ventilation and temperature control, location of lavatories for hand washing and toilet facilities;” which while they can often be obtained from the landlord, are rarely accurate or as detailed as they are asking for.
30.1004.4 “ List of all LMBTs hired as employees or contracted with as independent contractors to provide treatment to clients, or signed letters of intent from LMBTs with a projected start date of work pending the opening of the establishment following granting of a license to operate;” which changes with great frequency, especially in large franchises, and there is no indication about how often that should be updated, if more frequent than the 2 year license term, and therefore will not be an accurate accounting of the massage therapists they are trying to track.
30.1005.1.d “ provide treatment rooms for massage and bodywork therapy that are least 10 feet by 12 feet in size, with a minimum of three linear feet of open floor space around all sides of the massage treatment table; “ which eliminates many if not most current rooms for hundreds of small business owners across the state. The expense for a small business to either apply and for construction. [UPDATE: We have been informed that “the Board will vote on April 19, 2018 to amend the proposed rules to delete Rule .1005(1)(d) and to withdraw that portion of Rule .1005 from the rules to be proposed to the Rules Review Commission.” While this is certainly the most problematic portion of the rules, we ask that you still let the Board know of your opinions on the other rules. We hope that there will be no issue with this vote, but we need to make sure they understand that the premise behind many of these rules will be just as ineffective.]
30.1004.6 “Equipment list, including furniture, office equipment, and equipment used for massage and bodywork therapy treatment;” with no indication of how detailed that list needs to be, nor any information about how this is different from a property tax listing or how it intends to be used to prevent human trafficking.
30.1004.(10) “ A completed self-evaluation inspection report demonstrating compliance with this section.” with no indication on how they will verify this to prevent fraud by people who have no problems breaking the law by human trafficking.
Please make sure your massage therapists, and your friend’s massage therapists, are aware of the upcoming changes. You can view the proposed changes at this site here: https://www.bmbt.org/pages/news.html
We ask and encourage you to let the NCBMBT know your feelings and that you support your massage therapists against these draconian and ineffective measures. You can contact them at
Charles P. Wilkins, PO Box 2539, Raleigh, NC 27602;
phone (919) 546-0050;
email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Please feel free to use any or all of this sample letter to express your concerns. While there are many requirements that will affect massage therapy in this state over the next several years, these are the most immediate concerns for the continuation of this and many other small massage therapy clinics. Thank you for your assistance and time.
To the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy-
I am a client at Essential Therapy, LLC, in Charlotte and have been educated on the proposed massage establishment licensure rules. While I agree with massage establishment licensure in general, I do oppose several of the proposed rules (listed below). I am aware you cannot comment for the board but would appreciate you sharing my concerns with the members of the board.
30.1004.5 “Facility plan, including floor plans with dimensions and fixtures, uses of each room, specifications on lighting, ventilation and temperature control, location of lavatories for hand washing and toilet facilities;” Current space used is owned by Alta Property Management, the current floor plans are inaccurate due to changes over the 12 years of leasing, and detailed floor plans may not be easily obtained. Hiring a professional to draw the floor plans would present a burdensome additional cost. Additionally, there is no reasonable necessity for ventilation, as Essential Therapy LLC more closely resembles a chiropractor’s or doctor’s office than a salon. How do these requirements assist in reducing human trafficking?
30.1004.8 “Copies of reports from city or county inspections for fire, safety, health, and sanitation, made within the three months prior to submission of application for approval;” This presents up to four separate inspections and additional expenses despite the fact that the building would have been inspected for fire and safety when built. Given inspectors are already behind schedule in many counties, would Essential Therapy, LLC, have to close while waiting for inspectors? Also, my understanding is that inspectors don’t make appointments but arrive as their schedule allows; what happens if Essential Therapy, LLC, must interrupt massages mid-session to clear the building of clients? Does the board have statutory authority to mandate inspections? Isn’t this determined by county and under jurisdiction of either Fire Marshal, OSHA, and/or the Department of Health & Human Services?
30.1005.1.d “ provide treatment rooms for massage and bodywork therapy that are least 10 feet by 12 feet in size, with a minimum of three linear feet of open floor space around all sides of the massage treatment table;” I am aware you have issued a statement that this rule will be voted on April 19th and potentially thrown out due to unintended consequences. Consequences mentioned by others include relocation, decreased profits from renovation costs, and/or being forced to close completely. What about the 3 feet of open floor space around the table? Not even doctor’s offices have a 3 feet requirement around their exam tables and they are Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. In what way do these requirements reduce the likelihood of human trafficking, which is the only reasonable necessity for an otherwise arbitrary space requirement?
30.1005.2.e maintain all equipment used to perform massage and bodywork therapy services on the premises in a safe and sanitary condition, including the application of cleansers and bactericidal agents to the massage table. Clean sheets, towels, or other coverings shall be used for each client and to cover the massage table for each client;” Therapists already use clean sheets for each client, which should be satisfactory. Using bactericidal agents in between every client on tables will deteriorate their outer coverings faster, resulting in increased cost to replace equipment. It would also eliminate the option of using foam pads and table warmer, both of which make me more comfortable as a client receiving massages.
None of the above rules seem reasonably necessary. I would also be curious to see the research used to determine that floor plans, inspections, room size, linear feet around a table, and/or using bactericidal agents on tables have an impact on human trafficking.
Unfortunately, there are websites out there that show the public where to go for illicit services; in my opinion, these illicit establishments seem to be the more likely culprit for human trafficking. While shutting illicit parlors down is for the police and State Bureau of Investigation to handle, perhaps loopholes in the Practice Act could be addressed? Since reflexologists and energy workers are exempt from licensing in North Carolina, human traffickers could continue to evade legislation under the guise of reflexology and energy work.
In closing, it is my belief that some of the proposed rules would impede properly licensed therapists from operating their businesses while allowing traffickers to continue to evade the laws. Thank you for your attention and please pass along my concerns to the board.