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My first stop was to see Attila Turos, a licensed massage therapist who conducts his business at 38-27 Bell Blvd. in Bayside. Turos entered the business part-time to supplement his tuition to become an attorney. He later gave up the idea of law and decided that this is what he wanted to do.

Turos said he loves the business.

And why not? An average session is quite profitable at $85 an hour. Spending half his time at his Manhattan location, Turos said more people in Manhattan take advantage of the benefits of massage than in Queens. People seek massage treatment mainly for medical reasons, where the individuals seek attention to specific ailments, Turos said.

And some just come for the release of the daily stress of life, he added. The art of the massage has become so much more specialized. There is the full body massage, but then again there is the deep tissue massage, the Shiatsu, or Swedish massage, as well as the sports massage, among various others.

The soft economy has not really affected the business, Turos said. The key is establishing initial clientele. Regulars continue to seek massage therapy and generate additional business via word-of-mouth referrals. But it’s not an easy or inexpensive business to get into. One can gain an associate’s degree from the Swedish Institute in New York, but it involves 16 months of straight training at a cost of $17,000.

But there is an alternative. Queensboro Community College has initiated an equivalent course at an approximate cost of just $6,000. Barbara Angelopoulos, who owns the Hydra Day Spa in Astoria, said the focus of her business is “the ultimate in beauty care and massage therapy.”

Angelopoulos said the spa aims to make clients feel and look great. A one-hour massage runs at $70, but Angelopoulos emphasized a focus on quality, not quantity. So how’s the massage business?

With Queens’ smaller percent of residents aware of the benefits of massage therapy, even though this borough has the largest population of any in New York City, the untapped potential growth of this business is quite evident.

Joe Palumbo is the fund manager for The Palco Group, Inc. and can be reached at palcogroup@aol.com or 718-461-8317.

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