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 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.