Established in 2013- The Deep Tissue Specialist started inside of the Leer Building in Modesto, California. Crammed in the back of a business center, phones ringing, doors opening and closing, the smell of coffee and people cackling loudly. Owner, Shawn Silva did his best to create a peaceful and tranquil environment. Working seven days a week, he was finally able to save enough to expand to a much larger office on the main "strip" of Modesto. McHenry Avenue was a giant leap and a much different clientele from the west side of a small-medium sized city. Equipped with a much larger office and the amenities needed to run a successful practice, he was then able to focus on working with patients that would truly benefit from his gift. HIV and cancer patients were close to his heart. Providing deep tissue massage with just the right amount of pressure, creating a consistent and reliable treatment plan, while serving the community in a peaceful, serene space- he was delighted when he began to see the transformation in his clients. "I was seeing a woman that suffered from chronic pain post surgery after being in a horrible car accident, every week for 2 or three months. I was so used to watching her every friday, slowly struggle to get out of her car. Grab her walker and slowly make her way to my office. One day she arrived and when she got out of her car, she didn't grab her walker. She walked right in, smiling. It was the best feeling in the world.”
After practicing in Modesto for about 13 months, Shawn decided it was time for change. San Francisco had been in every dream of a young, gay man. A vibrant, fast paced city with an accepting and loving community seems to be the perfect recipe for success. Although the risk was high- he decided to make the move back to the bay area, where he was born. Shortly after, he was given he name of a chiropractor that owned a practice on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Working in a medical environment was a major adjustment. “It was nice, but it felt sterile-very black and white.” He worked inside of a small studio in the Fillmore for about 9 months. After tearing a ligament in his ankle, he decided to step back and take a break. A much longer break than originally anticipated. “Life kept pulling me in different directions, good and bad. My quality of life started slowly deteriorating until i had nothing I looked forward to doing when I got out of bed. I realized I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do, so nothing ever worked out.”
With rent prices increasing by the day, finding a new office seemed impossible. He searched tirelessly for office space and was unsuccessful on every turn. Until he found a small studio in the Castro. Reasonably priced, inside of a spa that was in the perfect location. “Moving into the Castro was a dream come true.” A tight knit community in a small district, blessed with good weather and accessibility. ”My clients love it, I’m only a 5 min. walk from Muni.”
With the legalization of Marijuana in California, Shawn began introducing Cannabis oils and creams to his regular clients. Slowly implementing the product into his practice. Surprised by the results he saw in himself, he decided to advertise cannabis infused deep tissue services to everyone. “I was expecting a very subtle impact on my clients. I was shocked when I felt the benefits myself. My joint pain after a long day of work decreased by 40-50%. I was able to get through 5 sessions, instead of 3 or 4 in a day.” He soon found him self fully committed- most of the time. Unable to contract other therapists to help him, due to restrictions on his lease- he was fastened to a 6, sometimes 7 day work week.
After searching for a larger office space in the Castro district for 4 months, he slowly began to loose hope of finding something within his budget, that was sufficient for a practice that would provide the amenities to not only succeed- but also meet the clients needs. “I began looking elsewhere and fell in lust with a city over one thousand miles away from everyone I know and love. It was scary, but I was going to do it.” With his lease ending in sight, he began preparing to leave San Francisco and start something new. “It was 2 or 3 days before I was going to book my plane ticket to sign a lease on a live-work space in Austin. I was so bogged down with stress and exhausted from working so much, walking into the building in a haze. I looked up and saw a ‘FOR RENT’ sign. My first thought was ‘theres no way I can afford anything in this building’. But I had to at least call. Just like that, San Francisco pulled me back in. Apparently the city isn’t done with me quite yet. As soon as I decided to stay- everything fell into place."
After a lot of negotiating and finally signing a lease, The Deep Tissue Specialist is not only staying in San Francisco, but will remain in the same building in the same great neighborhood it was chosen by. The business has been blessed with skilled and truly gifted therapists from all walks of life. “I’m looking for quality-not quantity. I don’t care if my therapists know every single muscle, tendon and ligament. You can brush up on anatomy. You can’t brush up on talent, you either have a gift or you don’t.”