Westchester at Work
How much does a massage therapist make?
The Gig: Massage Therapist
Name: Ken Luttman
Employer: Altheus Health and Performance Center, Rye
Does kneading and poking muscles pay?
It pays between $55,000 and $70,000 a year if you’re Ken Luttman, director of Massage Therapy at Altheus, a health and performance center in Rye. (The range depends upon the number of clients he sees and the types of services he performs.) Luttman earns another $10,000 to $15,000 per year giving massages to his private clients in their homes, charging between $150 to $200 per hour, depending upon the type of massage requested and travel time.
Why choose this as a career?
“When my dad had strokes, I started to give him massages, and he loved them. I knew then that I wanted a career where I could give people something beneficial.” Luttman completed a two-year program of study at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in Westport, Connecticut, and has a New York State massage therapy license.
What first motivates someone to disrobe and have a complete stranger touch their bodies?
Pain most often. “I get everything from ‘I am reading a lot and getting headaches’ to ‘I was playing football and pulled my back out.’”
When does the poking, prodding, and kneading heat up?
Luttman usually sees more people in January—“People are really into taking care of themselves after all that gorging”—and over the summer—“More people are involved in outdoor sports then, which leads to more muscle tension and injuries.”
What astonishes the masseur:
“It always surprises me that people who are so committed to exercise and sports, beating on their bodies for ten to thirty hours a week, have a tough time prioritizing one hour a week for maintenance and injury prevention.”
How does the massage therapist stay fit?
In a typical week, Luttman runs 20 to 30 miles, bicycles 40 to 80 miles, lifts weights about three times, and tries to fit in a massage.