The 98-Year-Old Massage Therapist Grandmother

January 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Longevity

Evelyn Blackburn

Evelyn Blackburn

In today’s article on Longevity, meet Evelyn Blackburn: She’s a 98-year-old grandmother who is Britain’s oldest massage therapist, with 60 years in the profession.

Evelyn Blackburn was first granted her license to operate in 1949 and recently renewed it.

Mrs. Blackburn, of Pinner, north London, has treated tens of thousands of people since a friend’s sore neck prompted her to learn the techniques of massage six decades ago.

But she has kept abreast of developments, embracing alternative treatments such as cupping – made famous by celebrity enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow – and radiesthesia, which treats people’s energy or auras.

Mrs Blackburn said, “I have massaged thousands of people over the years – from mothers and grandmothers to builders and scientists. Back when I started, I used iodine-based oil called Dragon’s Blood. Nowadays, I use the modern substitutes. You have to move with the times.

“I still maintain the best treatment is a pair of hands.

“I don’t think anything can replace massage. I have used lots of therapies and machines, but nothing is quite as effective.

“A massage is much better than all these advertised creams to put on your face and body, although the companies making the cream wouldn’t like to hear that – but it’s the truth.”

Mrs. Blackburn working on a client

Mrs. Blackburn working on a client

Mrs. Blackburn used to treat up to eight people a day at the clinic where she worked in Nower Hill, Harrow, but for the past 24 years has worked from home in a room adapted into a studio.

She stated that, “I started in 1949 and now I’m 98. It has been a long time but I enjoy my work because I help people feel better. I love the contact with people and sharing their problems.

“Now I take on work as it comes. I’m available seven days a week.”

Explaining how she has kept so active, she said: “While you cannot determine how long you live, I have been a vegetarian since I was 20 and never get angry and depressed. When you feel down in the dumps, you must pick yourself up.”

Evelyn Blackburn, the 98-year-old massage therapist grandmother, is another model of longevity, and a model of someone living a Low Density Lifestyle.

One of the common threads you may have noticed amongst all the people featured so far in these articles on longevity is diet: they have all either proclaimed that they are (or in the case of Joe Rollino, was) a vegetarian, or that they ate very little animal foods.

That really is a very important part of it, as eating an animal-food based diet will shorten your life, as the article I wrote not too long ago on The China Study pointed out.

Another thing all of these people have is a sense of purpose, and having a sense of purpose is something that has been shown to help contribute to longevity.

For Evelyn Blackburn, her sense of purpose is in helping people feel better, and she truly loves to be able to do so. As she said above, she’s available seven days a week.

So next time you find yourself in Pinner, in north London, give Evelyn Blackburn a call and make an appointment for a massage from her. You’ll learn a thing or two about longevity along the way.


13 Responses to “The 98-Year-Old Massage Therapist Grandmother”
  1. Sanjay Satyanarayana says:

    Truly Amazing……..unbelievable!

  2. SoeReiMas says:

    So awsome and touching to read this. It is true that the best Tools ever given are healthy hands to cary on doing what she does best! Keep on Going Evelyn!

  3. jeanie glass says:

    Hooray for Evelyn! I’m a massage student in Florida, USA, who’s almost 1/2 way through an 11 month-course. I’ll stop wondering now if I began this endeavor too late. You’ve changed my perspective & I thank you! RESPECT!

  4. Kitty Temple says:

    I have been practicing Massage Therapy for 14 years now and can say that I feel they same way this lovely women feels about our profession. I am “growing long in the tooth” myself and was so inspired by this article I am now convinced that I too can continue my passion and profession well beyond the normal retirement age. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful woman and her delightful spirit!

  5. Bobby says:

    What an amazing story. I am almost 20 years in practice and will be 48 yrs old this next birthday. I must agree what an inspiration Evelyn ! I share your passion and have felt this passion for helping people gre stronger over the years. We are truly blessed to do what we do. I am also grateful that this industry allows us to blend and learn newer modalities that are less strenuous on our body as we grow older.
    I will look forward to continung to transition in my already healthy diet and as for never getting angry or depressed I will wmrace that and try to remember you every time I may feel one of those coming on
    Thank you thank you thank you

  6. shana says:

    wow, what a gorgeous story. thank you for introducing us to evelyn!

    “While you cannot determine how long you live, I have been a vegetarian since I was 20 and never get angry and depressed. When you feel down in the dumps, you must pick yourself up.”

    pure simple wisdom!

    cheers from shana

  7. Virgin says:

    Thank you so much for the encouragement, I was losing hope. For my profession. I finished school a few years ago, I need to brush up on some old skills, and learn some new ones. I am dusting my books and hitting the computer with passion again. Thank you soooooo much.

  8. Margaret says:

    Wow! What a tremendous and wonderful story I love your energy Evelyn, it has surly kept you going. Keep it up you are a genius. I will like to keep going when am about that age by the grace of God and so shall it be amen. I will check you out whenever am in the area and am sure I’ll learn a thing or two about longevity along the way.

    TrueDreams Massage Therapist

  9. Vicki Wengrow says:

    I’ve been a massage therapist/bodyworker, in Jacksonville, Fla. for 36 years. I thought THIS was major longevity in the field, but 65 years is amazing…and definitely worth planning to do!.

  10. Dea Smith says:

    I am 73 and have been practicing for 22 years. I, too, love my work and I know it makes me healthy. Reading this story gives me the awareness that I can continue indefinitely. Thank you..


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  1. […] Or how about Evelyn Blackburn from England who still practiced massage when she was 98 years old as part of a 60 year massage career? Here is her inspiring story. […]

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