The North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (Board) is committed to providing the public with information, resources and, when necessary, assistance in filing a grievance against a licensed massage and bodywork therapist. An informative PowerPoint presentation is available for viewing on the Board’s Consumer Resources page.
In this section, the public may access the Board’s “Online Verification” section, which allows the public to search the Board’s database by licensee name or license number. You may also view disciplinary reports associated with licensees who have been sanctioned by the Board.
The Public Frequently Asked Questions section will assist the public with questions concerning the licensure process, how to determine if a massage and bodywork therapist is licensed, how to file a complaint, what a license looks like and other important information.
As part of the Board's Public Awareness Campaign, the
Communications Committee was to create a series of brief Public
Service Announcement videos. It was determined that the initial
Public Service Announcement campaign would consist of 4 videos. Each
video would be 3 - 5 minutes long. The topics chosen were (1) “How
to find a Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist”; (2) “What you
should know before receiving your first massage”; (3) “How to file a
complaint with the Board”; and (4) “What is the difference between
being licensed and certified?” Links to these videos are listed
below. Click on the video you would like to watch and a
separate window will open containing the video of your choice.
As part of the Board's Public Awareness Campaign, the Communications Committee was to create a series of brief Public Service Announcement videos. It was determined that the initial Public Service Announcement campaign would consist of 4 videos. Each video would be 3 - 5 minutes long. The topics chosen were (1) “How to find a Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist”; (2) “What you should know before receiving your first massage”; (3) “How to file a complaint with the Board”; and (4) “What is the difference between being licensed and certified?” Links to these videos are listed below. Click on the video you would like to watch and a separate window will open containing the video of your choice.
How to find a Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist
What you should know before receiving your first massage
What is the difference between being licensed and certified?
Public Service Announcement from the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy
노스캐로니이나 마사지, 바디웍 요법위원회의 공공 서비스 발표
Объявление службы общественной информации от Комиссии по массажу и бодиворк штата Северная Каролина (вторая редакция)
До того как начать предоставление услуг массажа и бодиворк в штате Северная Каролина, необходимо получить лицензию массажиста и бодиворк-массажиста (LMBT) от Комиссии по массажу и бодиворк штата Северная Каролина.
Для получения лицензии необходимо успешно пройти учебную программу по массажу и бодиворк в объеме как минимум 500 часов в утвержденном Комиссией учебном заведении. Необходимо также сдать утвержденный Комиссией экзамен на лицензию массажиста и бодиворк-массажиста, подать заявление на получение лицензии, к которому приложены 4 характеристики от лицензированных специалистов здравоохранения, пройти проверку на наличие правонарушений и сдать экзамен на знание законов штата Северная Каролина в отношении массажа и бодиворк. Для получения лицензии LMBT необходимо знание английского языка.
Лицо, предоставляющее услуги массажа и бодиворк в штате Северная Каролина без действующей непросроченной лицензии LMBT, может быть привлечено к уголовной ответственности и может быть подвергнуто административным санкциям.
Если вы не уверены, что учебное заведение, в котором вы проходили или планируете проходить обучение, утверждено Комиссией по массажу и бодиворк штата Северная Каролина, вы можете обратиться в Комиссию по адресу firstname.lastname@example.org или по телефону (919)546-0500. Подробная информация о том, как стать лицензированным массажистом и бодиворк-массажистом в штате Северная Каролина, предоставлена на сайте www.bmbt.org.
The Board licenses massage and bodywork therapists in the State of North Carolina. Anyone offering massage or bodywork therapy to the public or describing their services as massage or bodywork therapy must be licensed by the Board. The following list of Frequently Asked Questions may help you understand massage and bodywork therapy and why and how massage therapists and bodywork therapists are licensed in the State of North Carolina.
What is the difference between "massage therapy" and "bodywork therapy"?
Both are therapeutic methods for working with the human body to maintain or improve health.
Massage therapy is the use of hands and application of pressure to the soft tissue, known as "manual" therapy. Massage therapy is one form of bodywork therapy. There are a variety of other therapeutic techniques that involve manipulation of the body
Massage therapy can take many forms, or "modalities." These forms include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular, Eastern, or medical massage, just to name a few. Often a therapist will combine several modalities to create an "integrated" massage, using a bit of several techniques to address a client's individual needs.
Even a term like "deep tissue" may encompass several more specific massage techniques. That's why one deep tissue massage may not be the same as another. Deep tissue massage can include approaches such as the St. John Method of Neuromuscular Therapy™ or John Barnes Myofascial Release™ - two of many specialized programs of study that licensed therapists may choose to master as they enhance their skills.
Bodywork therapy involves manipulation of the soft tissues of the body as a way to maintain or improve health. Bodywork therapy modalities use a fully designed systematic approach to treatment that follows certain principles and protocols. These therapies are used to meet specific needs for relaxation, pain relief, or improved health. A qualified therapist will determine the type of therapy that best matches your needs and recommend a treatment plan to achieve the desired results. Never hesitate to ask questions and communicate expectations to your licensed therapist.
Why are massage and bodywork therapists required to be licensed in North Carolina?
Licensure sets and enforces standards for the safe and competent practice of massage and bodywork therapy. Licensure enables the public to have confidence in the level of training and education of the Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapists (LMBT) should they choose to engage the services of a massage therapist or bodywork therapist.
When did the requirement for licensing begin in North Carolina?
In 1998 a law was passed called the Practice Act, in which licensure became mandatory for all practicing massage and bodywork therapists. It is a crime to practice massage or bodywork therapy in North Carolina without a current license.
How can I tell if a therapist has a license?
All LMBTs are required by law to display their licenses in their offices or workplaces (click here to see a picture of a license). The only exception would be an outdoor location, such as a sports marathon, in which case therapists must have a copy of their license to show, if asked.
You may also look up license status on the Board’s website. This database gives information on the licensure status of the person in question and also lists any disciplinary actions that may have been taken against the therapist by the Board.
If I am looking for a LMBT how will I know they are licensed?
All North Carolina licensed massage and bodywork therapists use the letters LMBT after their name and are required to list their license # and display their license.
Does the license expire or does it last forever?
A license must be renewed every two years and all continuing education requirements must be completed. An expired license is like having no license. A therapist MAY NOT practice using an expired license.
My therapist is certified. Is that the same as licensed?
No. Certifications show skills, competencies, and professional achievements that your therapist has earned. Certifications do not substitute for a North Carolina license.
Membership in a massage or bodywork association does not replace the requirement for licensure in North Carolina.
My therapist has a license in another state- can he/she practice in North Carolina?
No. Your therapist must have a North Carolina license in order to practice massage or bodywork therapy in North Carolina. There is a legal process, implemented by the Board, which allows persons licensed in another state and moving to North Carolina to obtain a license to practice here.
What kinds of techniques are and are not considered massage therapy or bodywork therapy (and thus require a license)?
Manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body, including use of machines /tools that mimic that manipulation, is considered massage and bodywork therapy. Use of modalities in which the client is not touched is not considered massage and bodywork therapy.
The practices of movement educators such as dance therapists or teachers, yoga teachers, personal trainers, martial arts instructors, or movement re-patterning practitioners are not considered massage or bodywork therapy.
Certain other licensed healthcare professionals may be permitted to give a massage; however, they are not permitted to represent themselves as Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapists.
If there is a question of whether a specific modality falls under the massage and bodywork therapy laws, the Board investigates and decides if licensure is required for the practice of that modality.
Is there a difference in licensing if I get a massage in a spa, in a private office, a chiropractor’s office, or even in the mall?
No. In each case the person giving the massage must have a current North Carolina massage and bodywork therapy license and the license must be displayed.
Is Acupuncture the same thing as massage therapy?
No. Separate licenses are needed for each. Acupuncturists may offer some massage based on their training and licensure, but may not hold themselves out as Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapists.
I received some Reiki but that person did not have a massage and bodywork therapy license - is that allowed?
Yes. Energy work techniques that do not include soft tissue manipulation are exempt from licensure.
What training must LMBTs have in order to be licensed?
To apply for a license to practice massage or bodywork therapy in North Carolina, the applicant must graduate from an approved training program of at least 500 hours. There are specific guidelines for school programs defining hours required in the study of anatomy and physiology, pathology, hands-on massage skills, ethics, and professionalism. The successful graduate must pass a comprehensive national exam and provide documented references and proof of good moral character. The Board reviews a criminal background report of each applicant before a license is issued.
What standards are in place for LMBTs?
LMBTs must obey all the laws and rules set forth in the North Carolina Massage and Bodywork Therapy Practice Act and the Rules and Regulations of the Board. LMBTs who fail to do so are subject to discipline by the Board. Discipline ranges from a letter of reprimand to the revocation of the LMBT’s license, depending on the seriousness of the infraction.
Why do I have to sign a form to get a massage?
Health history and your informed consent are required before a LMBT is allowed to work with you. Your therapist is also required to take notes about your treatment and retain those notes for at least four years.
What are the rules about how much clothing I take off for a massage or bodywork therapy session?
A client may undress to their comfort level. Clean drapes, towels, sheets or gowns should be provided and draping should be used to ensure the safety, comfort and privacy of the client. The therapist should explain the draping procedures before the treatment.
The genitals of both men and women must be covered at all times during a session either through proper draping or by the person keeping on sufficient clothing. For women, the breasts must be kept covered unless specific treatment for a medical reason is indicated and the therapist has specific training to provide competent treatment. In that case the breasts may, with your permission, be uncovered for the duration of treatment in the breast area. An example of when this might be appropriate is lymphatic massage following a mastectomy.
The “glutes”, the muscular area of your buttocks, may also be temporarily uncovered, with your permission, for the duration of treatment in this area. Many people have muscular tightness in this area and massage is often indicated.
What should I do if my therapist makes sexual advances toward me?
You should end the massage immediately and file a complaint with both the therapist’s employer and the Board. Refer to the “Filing a Complaint” question below. If you are sexually assaulted, you may also consider filing a complaint with your local law enforcement agency.
My therapist refused to give me a massage because I was drinking alcohol- is that allowed?
Yes. Licensees have the right to refuse or terminate a treatment in progress to protect their own safety and well-being, including situations such as:
(1) A client who is abusive; under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any illegal substance; or otherwise impaired; or
(2) A client who has violated the boundaries of the professional relationship by initiating or asking the licensee to engage in sexual activity; or
(3) A client who intentionally removes the draping during the massage session that exposes the male or female client's gluteal or genital areas or the breast area for female clients; or
(4) A client who does not disclose all health issues and information.
I was injured by my therapist- what should I do?
Conduct that results in harm to a client or that endangers the health or safety of a client should be reported to the Board by filing a complaint. Of course, you may have other legal rights which you may discuss with your attorney.
How do I file a complaint about a therapist who has behaved in an unprofessional manner?
Click here to download a complaint form to your computer. Print out the form and fill it out. Sign it. (Unsigned complaints or anonymous complaints cannot be investigated by the Board.) Mail the form and any accompanying papers to the Board. The Board and/or Board attorney will contact you within ten days.
What do I do if my therapist or a therapist I know is not licensed?
File a complaint with the Board as outlined above.
How do I stop the massage if I change my mind and don’t want to continue?
You have the right to ask the therapist to stop the massage at any time.