About Unbound Muscle Therapy

James Barbosa

The Athlete’s Massage Therapist | Founder of Unbound Muscle Therapy

For three years, I have emerged my self within the athletic community of Maryland and in that time I have worked with athletes of all levels and types. I have learned the athletic body in a way in which most others in my industry haven’t gotten the privilege. An athlete is different from a normal person and with that they need someone who truly understands what they put their bodies through. From headaches and shoulder impingements to back pain and plantar faciatis, I have worked with almost every issue that athletes develop in their training and the results I have been able to produce have been amazing. I love working with athletes and I strive to become the best athletes massage therapist there is.

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James Barbosa, Owner and founder of Unbound Muscle Therapy, as a child would use massage on his mother to help with back pain that she developed from long hours at work. After several massages James realized that he could potentially make money offering these services to family members and help them with back pain as well. He created a pricing chart and offered the services to his family. After no one showed interest he gave the business up. Growing up he used massage on girlfriends and friends to help with pain. But never thought it as a serious skill.

At 18 years old James joined the Army National Guard to give back to his country. After years in the military as a weekend warrior, a year in Iraq and many job changes, James still hadn’t found his true passion. James sat down one day and asked him self, “what is it that you love and can you turn that into a job?”. He realized that helping people was the thing he loved most. The idea of becoming a massage therapist had come into his mind and so he decided to pursue massage therapy school. After going to school for massage while working a full time job for over a year James finally graduated and became a certified massage practitioner. Making the decision that he would never work for anyone else again he decided to start his own business.

August 2015, with very little money James started off offering 10 minute chair massages for 10 dollars at the PX store on Fort Meade to the military and their families. After a month James saw an old military supervisor who he persuaded to sit down for a 10 minute demonstration of his newly found massage skills. Captain Franklin was impressed and informed James that he had a man who worked for him that also owned a crossfit gym. He suggested that James meet with him and that they could potentially work out a business arrangement.

James met with Mike, Captain Franklin’s employee and owner of crossfit Critical Mass gym. Mike agreed to work with James and offered him a room within his gym to conduct massage therapy at a percentage based fee contract. James agreed and went to work. James offered services to the members of the gyms and was able to help many athletes with their pain and mobility problems. Mike eventually invited James to a local crossfit competition to provide massage to his athletes during the event.

James showed up to the event with only his massage table and growing thirst for success. He worked on the athletes from crossfit critical mass for a discounted rate. He also went around to different groups of athletes from other gyms offering his service for 10 dollars. Only 3 people allowed James to work on them but James kept his motivation. After a few months another competition took place and again James offered his services. It was freezing cold out side and as everyone went inside to watch the competition, James stayed outside with his massage table in hopes of catching someone walking by looking for massage. As James stood there waiting for any potential client, a man named Dallas and his dog walked over and asked about James’ services and that he had heard great things. He explained that his hip had been bothering him for months and he needed help. Within just a few minutes James made the pain go away and the man was impressed after being disappointed by the lack of results from other massage therapists and physical therapists. The man turned out to be the co-owner of another crossfit gym and invited James to his gym to meet the other owner. After a few days passed James showed up at crossfit Blue Crab and met with both owners. They came to an agreement in which James would show up once a week and offer his services to the gym members in exchange for providing free services to the owners. Business began to look up and clients where coming in to see James regularly.

March 2016 James finally came up with the perfect name for his business, “Unbound Muscle Therapy”. He created his LLC and began advertising as “The Athletes Muscle Therapist”.

After a few smaller competitions and a constant hustle James was invited to a larger competition called MAAC (Mid Atlantic Affiliate Challenge) in April, 2016, which held over 2,000 athletes and spectators from gyms all over Maryland. James volunteered his services for the two day event. He set up his massage table and sign saying “Free 5 minute demos” and got to work. Athletes began filling James’ time very quickly in short 5 minute sessions. There was over an hour and a half waiting list for James’ services the majority of the weekend. After two 8 hour days of non stop clients James was more excited and exhausted than he had ever been before.

The next day James got straight to work, calling every crossfit gym that he connected with at the competition. Soon after James was invited to several gyms to conduct demos and eventually created a bi-weekly rotation with the gyms in which he would conduct 15 minute sessions for 20 dollars each for 4 hours at a time at each gym. This business model proved to be extremely profitable for a few months. James would take on 2-3 new gyms per months totaling 16 gyms by July 2016. Business was looking finally a success and James was the happiest he had ever been.

James finally had a good client base, several great relationships with local gyms and he was loving life. Business had become a success. UMT was well known through the fitness industry in Maryland and James continued to hustle into the 2017 year. In Jan 2017 James was requested to fly to Colorado for a weekend to work on athletes. The weekend was booked within 3 hours of making the announcement and James flew into Colorado a few weeks later. The trip was a huge success and James was asked to come back on a three month rotation.

Shortly after returning from Colorado James was invited to a huge competition in Virginia that help around 1500 athletes and spectators from all over Virginia. James was nervous because he hadn’t yet developed a following in Virginia and knew no one at the event. This time he was charging client 15 dollars for 10 minute sessions. He first offered a random athlete a free sessions and once people saw his work they where pouring in. James had over a three hour waiting list the entire two day event and made more money than he had ever made at a competition. There was a local physical therapist also offering services, for free. The physical therapist had less than 10 clients that weekend and James had over 70. UMT dominated the space as it will continue to do.

UMT has become a brand that athletes have learned to trust as the brand that fixes pain, mobility problems and helps to prevent injuries, so that athletes can train harder, lift heavier and become better, because they will “Become Unbound”. Unbound Muscle Therapy is now ready to move into a larger space in which it will employ massage therapists and other therapies in order to develop an even larger brand and help more people. It is projected that within 3 years, UMT will be the number one recovery brand in the DMV area.