Professional License Lawyer in North Carolina

The North Carolina Board Of Massage And Bodywork Therapy Standards of Professional Conduct

The North Carolina Board Of Massage And Bodywork Therapy Standards of Professional Conduct

As many of you may be aware, there have been many recent claims and allegations against massage and body therapists and facilities regarding sexual misconduct in North Carolina. It is important for those practicing massage therapy and for current and future patients to be knowledgeable about the legal standards of professional conduct as it pertains to massage and bodywork therapy in North Carolina.

The General Requirements for the Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. provide only those services that they have the training and practical experience to perform, and that are designed to benefit the health and well-being of the client;
  2. deliver treatment that ensures each client’s safety, comfort and privacy
  3. inform clients of the scope and limitations of massage and bodywork therapy

Client Assessment and Informed Consent

Before providing treatment, licensees shall:
  1. inquire as to the health history and current health status of each client to determine the indications and contraindications for the application of massage and bodywork therapy;
  2. assess the needs and expectations of the client and designate a treatment;
  3. obtain the written consent of the client. For the purposes of this Section, “consent” means the therapist has informed the client as to the nature and purpose of the service to be provided, and the client acknowledges that he or she understands the terms under which the treatment is being provided and voluntarily agrees to receive such treatment. The treatment shall be modified only with the consent of the client;
  4. respect the client’s right to refuse, modify or terminate treatment regardless of prior consent given. .0503 CLIENT ASSESSMENT AND INFORMED CONSENT
When obtaining written consent, it is a good idea to have to even go as far as to have them initial right beside the service they are agreeing to especially if the service is being performed in an intimate area.

What is defined as sexual activity and what is pohibited?

“For the purposes of this Chapter, “sexual activity” shall mean any direct or indirect physical contact, or verbal communication, by any person or between persons which is intended to erotically stimulate either person, or which is likely to cause such stimulation and includes sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, masturbation or anal intercourse. As used herein, masturbation means the manipulation of any body tissue with the intent to cause sexual arousal. Sexual activity can involve the use of any device or object and is not dependent on whether penetration, orgasm or ejaculation has occurred.” .0508 SEXUAL ACTIVITY DEFINED
“To preserve the safety and integrity of the therapeutic relationship, the following requirements shall apply during the period from the beginning of the client/therapist relationship, and continue for six months after the termination of such relationship. Licensees shall:
  1. not engage in sexual activity, as defined in Rule .0508, between the licensee and the client, whether such activity is consensual or otherwise;
  2. not engage in or permit any person or persons to engage in sexual activity with a client in a location where the practice of massage and bodywork therapy is conducted;
  3. not use such location to make arrangements to engage in sexual activity with a client in any other place; and
  4. define the boundaries of the professional relationship in the event that the client initiates or asks the licensee to engage in sexual activity.”
If at any point you, as the licensee, are unclear on the standards of professional conduct or have done something that is prohibited under the standards of professional conduct, contact an attorney immediately. It is important that you are maintaining these standards to keep you and your patients safe and happy.

Nothing in this blog post is legal advice or establishes the attorney-client relationship.  This is for informational purposes only.  If you’d like to learn more about professional licensing issues in North Carolina check out our site at or our YouTube site here919-521-8810 is the direct line to North State Law.