“Movement is life. Stagnation is death.” – Chinese Medicine Saying
Retired Marine, Owner Dominique Navarrete, has broken his neck two times – but that hasn’t slowed him down.
The Founder and owner of Tactical Therapeutics, located at 1222 West Davis Street, just to the left of the Kessler Theater, Dominique has been working for the past decade to help repair the human bodies that walk in his door.
Born in St. Paul Hospital and a graduate of Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, he joined the marines after graduation in 1993 and spent three years in Hawaii. Although it rains a lot there, he has good memories. “It’s a magical place,” he admits.
He returned to Texas and spent two years as the Phys Ed and Health teacher at Pegasus Charter School from 1998 - 2000, and he still talks to many of his former students. “They still call me coach,” he says with a laugh.
He Broke his neck the first time in 1999 in Addison during the summer while practicing gymnastics to get better at break dancing. “I did a back flip and landed on my chin when my feet were still in the air. But I had to walk out being cool – and then drive myself to my friend’s house and eventually to the hospital, where they told me I’d broken my neck.”
The hospital gave me lots of painkillers that didn’t work. “It was a liquid concoction of morphine, oxycodone and just about everything you can think of but none of it worked.” What worked was surgery. “They went through the front of my neck,” he said, and he sported a neck brace while teaching Health that fall. He recovered, and started training immediately, only to break his neck again.
After his second year of teaching, he moved to Australia to teach Martial Arts. He was staying in Melbourne and says, “I was doing some training, showing somebody how to get out of choke hold, and snapped my neck. I didn’t know it at the time.”
His business Visa didn’t come through so his hope to teach Martial Arts didn’t take off. Panicking, he walked through downtown and saw a sign about a course in Natural Medicine and Acupuncture taught at Melbourne University. It was something that he was interested in, so he got a student Visa to stay and obtain a degree in Natural Medicine.
He moved back to the states in 2004 and was helping rebuild New Orleans after Katrina with a company that did Asbestos and mold removal. It was a dirty job, “But I was desperate.”
Eventually he got a better job which included health insurance. That’s how he learned he’d been walking around and working with a broken neck. “Someone mentioned I looked like I was in a lot of pain, so I went to see a doctor. He asked me how I was even walking.”
Dominique learned he had shards of bones in his spine and needed surgery to remove the bones, and he needed pins in his neck.
“Six screws, four pins and two rods in my neck was what it took to get me back to my strength,” he remembers. He now has 98% range of motion. “I was lucky,” he says, “I had a good surgeon.”
One summer day in between his teaching years he was walking by “Have A Nice Day Café” in the West End District on McKinney and Lamar and saw they needed a security guard. “Dallas Alley and The West End used to be amazing,” he remembers, and he took the job.
Having begun Martial Arts training at 11 years old - with the awards and certifications to prove it - plus a stint in the Marines, Dom found himself working in Security. He says he has worked in 17 bars and restaurants throughout his Security career. “To be a bouncer in a big place, you could make bank,” he said. He ended up being the head of security just about everywhere he worked.
“I got to be in charge of a lot of teams at great venues,” he said. “But I got tired of the late nights and getting through the occasional violence that sometimes happened and knew that eventually Karma would come back on me.”
His jaunt to Australia to pursue a Martial Arts teaching career led him to learning Chinese Medicine and cupping, and eventually back to the states and his own business.
RETURN TO OAK CLIFF
He was living in the Lofts on Southside on Lamar in 2005 and moved around in the area for about 10 years, through to 2016, doing different security jobs before landing in Carrollton in 2017 to help his father, also a marine, who was going to the VA for medical help.
During this time Dominque opened his business across the street from the Kessler on Winnetka and Davis, but his space was upstairs. “And then I realized many of my clients couldn’t do the stairs.” He searched and soon found the new space at the storefront - street level - next to the Kessler and jumped on it.
He’s been there for eight years and plans to stay until his studio grows out of it.
This year he bought a house and now lives within walking distance of his business, “Just down the street at Edgefield and 10th.” As a bonus, both his mother Diana and older sister, Noel, a teacher, live nearby.
With his experience in Chinese Medicine, and his certification in Massage Therapy, he can treat clients from the age of four to 94. Nearly every client gets his expertise in Cupping.
Cupping involves placing warm cups, generally glass ones, on top of the skin. A vacuum is made when the air inside the cup removes all the oxygen so when the cup is placed on the skin, it gets drawn up. This loosens the connective tissue and improves blood flow. As a result, a cupping massage helps stimulate healing.
Used by athletes world-wide, the technique is relatively new to the United States. Dominique says everyone can benefit from it.
During a women’s self-defense workshop at The Sweatshop on Polk, Dominique met his future wife, Veronica. He put her in a hold and asked her to get out of it – but she ended up with a rolled ankle. A few days later Dominique says, “She came to my shop for some help with her healing, and we’ve been together ever since.”
Together over five years, they got married at Reveler’s Hall in Bishop Arts during COVID and their first child, a girl, is due in January.
Dominique says his favorite thing about his business is helping people heal, and the building he's working in. “The location here in Oak Cliff, the building storefront, it reminds me of Australia.”
His clients range from high school athletes hoping to overcome injuries to take a shot at their sport on the college level, and older people with mobility issues. He even had a 94-year-old WWII veteran coming to see him for a while.
Open seven days a week, Tactical Therapeutics provides both one-time help and packages of four or five or nine sessions. Dominique says he doesn’t mind working seven days a week. “I understand some people work Monday through Friday so can’t get here. I live right up the street. It’s a short walk. I’m here for them on Saturdays and Sundays.”
If you need a massage or Deep Tissue & Fire-Cupping Massage Therapy involving Eastern modalities, check out Dominique’s expertise:
Monday through Thursday from 1:00 to 6 pm.
Friday 1 to 4
Saturday 11- 3
See his new website Thebodytellsnolies.com
Or contact Dominique at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can call or text him directly: 469-441-1820
Judy Porter, MBA, Owner of Porter People PR, writes stories about small businesses, nonprofits and local heroes. Contact her at: email@example.com