Licensed Massage Therapist Ewaldson Francois’ Empowered for Performance Massage Therapy is a separate business located at Barefoot Massage in the New Tampa Professional Park in Pebble Creek. (Photos by Charmaine George)

When Olympic track and field athlete Marco Arop took home the bronze medal in the men’s 800-meter race at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, he says he felt lucky to have Licensed Massage Therapist Ewaldson Francois, LMT — who goes by Francois — at the meet with him.

“Francois traveled with a group of us, and every one of us medaled at Worlds,” Marco says. “That’s pretty impressive.”

The group met Francois when he was the massage therapist for the athletics department at Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville.

Now, Francois has opened a new business in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area, as he and his family have moved here for the long term.

His business is called Empowered For Performance Massage, and Francois currently works out of a suite at Barefoot Massage, located in the New Tampa Professional Park in Pebble Creek. He is available to help athletes of any caliber, as well as those who are looking for relief from long-term pain.

“He’s really special as a therapist,” Marco says, “not only in the techniques and his ability, but also in his dedication.”

Marco says Francois is always eager to learn and try new techniques and that his sessions with Francois have become a huge part of Marco’s career.

“I’ve seen a lot of improvement over the last year,” Marco says. “It’s not just keeping me healthy, but also building strength through new techniques. I have to give him credit for a lot of my accomplishments.”

LMT Ewaldson Francois can help you get Empowered for Performance, too!

Francois’ background is in sports massage and medical massage, helping people who suffer from chronic pain, and also helping athletes with recovery from injuries, increasing performance and muscle balancing. He is certified to provide not only those types of massage, but also myofascia release (manipulation of the tough membranes that wrap, connect and support muscles) and manual lymphatic drainage (to stimulate lymph system flow).

As a kid growing up, Francois says his aunt always asked him to massage her feet.

“I realized how much it helped her and how much I enjoyed it,” he says, “so I developed a love and passion for massage.”

At that time, though, Francois never considered that it could become a career. 

Out of high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and worked in the medical field. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, he decided to extend his stay in the military to “do his part.” At that time, his sister went to massage school and the seed of an idea was planted for what Francois might do after leaving the military.

While stationed in Virginia and working nights as an x-ray technician at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, he began going to massage school during the day. He graduated with an Associate’s degree from a program at ECPI University. It was at that time that Francois left the military and met his wife, Martisa. He moved to Mississippi, where she was a teacher.

Francois began his massage career at a spa in Mississippi but quickly realized that wasn’t for him. Instead, he began working with the athletes of the track and field team at MSU. He then worked with the football team — traveling with them for two seasons — and eventually worked with all of the sports teams in the university’s athletic department.

He then started his own business, called Golden Triangle Massage Therapy, in 2016.

“I wanted to work for myself and had the desire to be an entrepreneur,” he says. “I wasn’t scared of the hard work that comes with it.”

But, Francois and Martisa knew they didn’t want to stay in Mississippi forever, so they began looking for the perfect home to begin the next chapter of their lives together. Their search brought them to the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area, where they plan to raise their daughters, five-year-old Olivia and three-year-old Hosanna.

Now, Francois works with athletes from the high school level to college and professional, and with weekend warriors such as triathletes and cross-fit athletes.

“Anyone who takes their body to the extreme limit,” he says, “my job is to help you recover so you can get the most out of your workouts.”

He says that often starts with deep tissue massage to increase blood circulation. He also is certified in what is called “muscle activation therapy” to make sure the smaller muscles are working as well as the larger ones. Francois explains that this therapy is personalized based on the individual anatomy of each athlete and how their muscles get fatigued.

Francois also helps people who aren’t athletic, too, especially those suffering from chronic pain. “My goal is not just to fix the problem, but also to find out what’s causing the problem,” he says, “which could be simple things in day-to-day living.”

He says he has helped people discover the source of their migraines and other headaches, as well as sciatica and other chronic pain — whether it’s the way you sit, how you hold the steering wheel, if you’re always looking down at your phone, or if your home office isn’t set up with proper ergonomics.

Francois adds that he’s helped many people who were hopeless and thought they could never do certain things again.

“Muscle pain — chronic pain especially — takes so much out of your quality of life,” says Francois. “The doctor will tell you that you need a muscle relaxer or surgery, but that’s not always the answer.”

He says he can’t always explain exactly how he knows how to help people. “It’s a gift,” he says. “I put my hands on somebody and their body lets me know what it needs. Things just make sense to me.”

Jeanie Dale is another client who highly recommends Francois. After playing a lot of sports at a younger age, she started feeling the wear and tear on her body in her early 60s, and she developed gait issues during the healing process after a knee surgery.

“He’s gotten it back to normal,” Jeannie says. “I had to re-strengthen muscles that had lost strength and he definitely helped me. With Francois, massages are not just relaxing — they’re more therapeutic.”

Jeanie says Francois already is tremendously missed in Mississippi, and Marco Arop, the Olympic athlete, agrees.

“I don’t know if other athletes have the same experience,” he says, “but I feel really lucky to have worked with him.”

Empowered For Performance Massage Therapy is located at 8905 Regents Park Dr., inside Barefoot Massage, at the New Tampa Professional Park in Pebble Creek. For more info or to make an appointment, call or text Francois at (813) 461-4591.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment