Massage parlors in Antananarivo [Statistical study]

08/23/2019. They have invaded the daily classified ads and “seduce” with descriptions often evocative of the beauty of their practitioners with promises of “finishing touches” for those willing to pay the price. Gone are the traditional mpanotra that only use elbow grease for massages, the profession has become more professional and has even become more popular in the country. Noises are heard, labels are stuck on, and many curious people are tempted to find out what is done within these four walls. If the Stileex Post has got you used to interviewing consumers, here it is the massage parlours of Madagascar that answer our questions directly. Organisation, products used, materials, customer motivation and future prospects, nothing escaped our notice.

Sampling by neighborhood in Antananarivo

QuartierNumber of loungesPercentageRoadside2nd plan3rd plan
67 Ha915%44%56%

In Madagascar, hardly any men are employed in these establishments.

The answers we received on the number of employees are very different, but what is certain is that the majority of our respondents (34%) have 2 employees, while 21% of these salons employ 4 masseurs. 16% have 1 employee, the same percentage answered having 3. Those with 5 and 6 employees each represent 5% of the respondents. 3% of the massage parlours in Antananarivo employ 10 masseurs, or even more for the larger ones.

We wanted to know how many of these employees are male. And, not surprisingly, more than half of the staff (67%) in these establishments are of the opposite sex. A leaner percentage of massage parlours, 22% of those surveyed, employ one male employee, 9% employ 2, with 5 masseurs for the remaining 2%.

But is there a difference between getting a massage from a man and a woman? Apparently not really. According to some Chinese beliefs, a massage given by a man would be as beneficial as if it had been given by his female counterpart in the sense that a man would have Yang (Yin and Yang) energy, which would bring vitality and warmth to the massage. This statement was also confirmed by Laurent Desvilles, Director of Studies at the International School of Spa. According to him, a male masseur can be as enveloping as a woman and once you try the experience, you quickly forget the established stereotypes. So let’s hear it!

How about you, would you be tempted by a massage... male?
How about you, would you be tempted by a massage… male?

With regard to the age of the employees, we wanted to know the age of the eldest practitioner in each salon. 1 salon out of the 58 interviewed told us that the “dean” was 23 years old. Slightly less shockingly, 9% said the “oldest” employee was 24, 3% 25, 2% 26 and 27. The majority of them work with masseurs who are up to 28 years old (7%), 29 years old (10%) or 30 years old (26%). The oldest, those aged 31, 32, 34, 35, 39, 40 and over, work for 2%, 2%, 3%, 17%, 2% and 13% respectively of the salons that were the subject of this survey.

Nearly 2 out of 5 massage parlors have been open since 2014 in Madagascar

We suppose that this huge wave of massage parlours has swept through Madagascar especially at this time, as 34% of them have been open for 5 years. The youngest, who have been practicing for less than a year, constitute 5% of our panel. As for the less young, they are 1 year old (3%), 2 years old (7%), 3 years old (14%), 4 years old (5%), 6 years old (2%), 7 years old (3%), 8 years old (7%), 9 years old (5%), some (15%) are even 10 years old and more.

When to get a massage?

We asked, with the possibility of multiple choices, on the days when the fairs are closed, here are the answers received:

Day of the weekPercentage
Open 7 days a week29%

So, if you want to enjoy your weekend and be pampered by expert hands, choose Saturday rather than Sunday, more than 3 out of 5 tananarivians salons are closed that day. If you also want to avoid the rush and the long minutes of waiting, we have listed for you the days when these lounges received the most customers:

Day of the weekPercentage

Now that the question of the day has been settled, all that is needed is to define the right time to come. We’ve thought of that for you as well.

Nearly half (48%) of the massage parlours in Madagascar are open from 8am if not earlier, 33% open at 9am, at 10am for 3%, at noon for 2%.

If you can’t wait, some institutes (14%) offer 24-hour services. In Antananarivo, you will find 1 in Ambohijatovo, 1 in Ambolokandrina, 3 in Anosibe, 1 in Antaninandro and 1 in Tsiadana. The other salons are open between 6 a.m. (5%), 7 a.m. (5%), 8 a.m. (31%), 9 a.m. (10%), 10 a.m. (10%), 11 a.m. (12%) and 12 p.m. per day (13%), see more.

In some cases, you will not have to wait long in the waiting room, because here is the number of customers that can be received simultaneously by the establishments:

Number of customersPer dayper week
21 to 2512%
26 to 303%
31 and over7%

If you are unable to travel, 29% of the salons in the capital of Madagascar also offer their services at home: you will find 1 in Ambolokandrina, 1 in Anosibe and the last one in Tsiadana. Otherwise, book your session, because if 43% of the respondents told us that it was not necessary in their establishment, half of our panel suggested that it was done, but not always, and 7% answered positively.

What do these massage parlors use?

The materials used by massage parlors are more or less identical. We have listed them, with the possibility of multiple choices.

Electric oil heater14%
Stone heater26%
Massage chair71%
Diffuser of essential oils33%
Massage chair36%
Salt lamp17%
Massage stones33%
Fixed massage table90%
Electric massage table29%

Massage tables are almost present in each salon, but how many are there exactly? 34% of the salons in the capital have one, followed by 45% who have 2. 9% of respondents have 3 tables, slightly more (4) for 7% of them. The largest (5%) have 5 or more tables.

For products, massage oils and essential oils are at the top of the list, with 86 and 84% each. Massage creams (24%) and rubefiants (10%) are still used, as the case may be.

Most essential oils are purchased domestically. Local organic oils are more popular (62%) than those of foreign origins (9%). 29% of the salons with which we investigated did not make a distinction.

The salons can fully afford to buy local organic essential oils knowing that the country has more than 70 aromatic plants usable for this sector. Producers such as Homéopharma, Floramad, Aroma Forest, Le Faniry, Biolandes, etc. are aware of it. Today, the country exports to France, Germany, the United States as well as some Asian countries.

On the other hand, only 29% of massage parlors in Madagascar resell these wellness products.

So far, more than half of Madagascar's massage parlors have opted for local organic essential oils
So far, more than half of Madagascar’s massage parlors have opted for local organic essential oils

The services offered in these institutes

Acupuncture (10%), hairstyle (33%), hair removal (21%), manicure and pedicure (28%), elongated massage (95%), chair massage (76%), oxygen and aromatherapy (17%), sauna (5%), facial treatment (24%) and slimming physiotherapy (2%), you will have plenty of choice among the services offered by these wellness centers. If you don’t know what to choose, others can also decide for you. Here are the most requested services: elongated massage (91%), chair massage (62%) and facial treatments (34%).

Extended massages are very popular in salons in Madagascar
Extended massages are very popular in salons in Madagascar

The massages offered can also be either therapeutic (19%), or wellness (33%), or both at the same time (48%). To take advantage of it, customers go there, most often, that is to say 91%, alone. The others go there as a couple (28%), with family (21%) or with friends (31%).

To make the experience more delicious, some (7%) lounges even offer customers drinks to refresh themselves. Beer (71%), alcohol (71%), hot drinks (100%), soft drinks (43%) and mineral water (43%), there is something for everyone. It is for this reason that this question was proposed with multiple choices.

What motivates customers to want to be massaged, according to the salons?

Obviously, the first reason mentioned remains well-being, at 78%. Other salons mention medical concerns, at 55%, which can in some ways “force” certain customers to attend these institutes, but that does not rule out the desire for mental and physical relaxation (21%), for stress evacuation (21%), unwinding of tension accumulated during a long work week (16%), out of simple habit (5%), to discover (2%) or simply for the pleasure of being pampered (38%).

When digging, getting a massage does not necessarily mean fuss. This practice dates back to Antiquity, and was used to relieve gladiators of their pains while helping them to regain their hair a little faster. It is also known to cure headaches, gastric disorders, stimulates the immune system and blood circulation. Massage is also recognized as a very powerful inflammatory, however, it is necessary to refer to a medical opinion before using it.

The duration of the sessions may vary according to the type of massage requested. Here is, depending on the massage parlour, the average time devoted to a client:

16 to 30 mins33%
31 to 45 mins31%
46 min to 1 hour22%
1h01 to 1h305%
1h31 to 2h2%
2h01 and more7%

For this moment of relaxation, some Tananarivians do not have the wallet in hedgehog skin, being able to pay:

Less than 10,000ar3%
10,001 ar to 15,000 ar28%
15,001 ar to 20,000 ar24%
20 000 ar to 25 000 ar16%
25 001 ar to 30 000 ar5%
30 001 ar to 35 000 ar7%
35 001 ar to 40 000 ar3%
40 001 ar to 45 000 ar7%
45 001 ar to 50 000 ar2%
50,001 ar and more5%

Do massage parlors have a future in Madagascar?

With increasingly fierce competition, one might wonder, in a year, whether the number of customers has increased or not. The luckiest saw their clientele increase, they represent 3% of our survey. A less dramatic increase, 26% admit that the number of their customers has increased slightly in the last 12 months. For more than 1 in 2 shows, no changes noticed, if 12% said they had lost slightly and 4% had experienced a real drop.

But this does not in the least undermine the confidence and hope of these professionals. Nearly half of our respondents, 43%, believe in the future of this sector in Canada. 17% are more skeptical and 40% prefer to wait and see.

How is massage parlors across the country advertised?

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, trade fairs have understood that advertising is the most reliable means of publicizing themselves, billboards and displays (67%) as well as newspapers (26%) are the ones that we notice the most, but not only. Television and radio (3%), social media (9%) and websites (2%) tend to be used more and more.

Reality, however, is not always so rosy

This is a very delicate subject. If in the West, being a masseur is a profession which is learned, recognized and even part of the medicinal practices, in Madagascar, it is more complicated. “Elegant” prostitution, disguised pimping, the noises of the corridor are going well, but what is really hiding there? A young girl, whom we will call Miora for confidentiality reasons, confided in us.

“I was attracted to a friend of mine in this kind of establishment at the age of 19. She had been working there for four months already and seemed to be doing well. She never dried up arguments to convince me, whispering to me that the winnings could go up to 50,000 ar every night, depending on the number of clients received. And I, like a little fish, have bitten the hook. As a student at the university in Antananarivo Madagascar, I would not have said no to a few more tickets. It was a small living room in Tsiazotafo. There were three girls, in very light clothes who couldn’t be older than me. A lady received me there with a smile, and stroked my straight hair, saying tena mety tsara! (translate: it fits perfectly!). The lady took me aside and asked me if I was a beginner. Ashamed, I answered yes. To reassure me, she told me that I could take a week’s training, but that I had to wear sexy outfits if I wanted it to work. I was paid 100,000 ar per month and had to work 4 hours a day. The end of my experience in this kind of place was not long overdue. During my training, I was taught that for the type of body-body massage (body against body) I had to use my body squarely to do the massage. It kind of anesthetized me. “

Many of them experienced this “episode,” like Miora, but few of them stopped. We have no doubt whatsoever that a large part of the country’s massage parlors is “reliable” and “operates” according to the rules of the art, approved centers, which we highly recommend elsewhere, exist in the country. But they are no less numerous to make use of it for less attractive ends. So far, no action has been taken by the state to resolve this dilemma, yet we dare to believe that this kind of practice is not tolerated by any legislation in this country with such delicate customs. And yet some announcements are unequivocally very explicit in the media. So when are things supposed to move?


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