Olaf Evjenth

Olaf Evjenth (1926 – 2020)

Olaf Evjenth hails from Valnesfjord in Fauske Municipality. He grew up on a farm on Hundholmen. Olaf was the second youngest of 11 siblings. His father died when the youngest sibling was 4 years old. Olaf worked a bit as a bricklayer after high school. He was active in the local sports club, especially in track and field, before he went to Oslo to study. He enjoyed playing the guitar and earned while studying by playing with friends at dances.

In Oslo he lived at Solem Skogen in Oslo with his wife Grethe (passed away 2014).

He had an active sports career at national and international level in the field events. After an active completion career, he was national coach in hammer throw, discus and shotput for several years. He completed higher education at the National Gymnastics School in 1952 and Oslo Orthopedic Institute (later the State Physical Education) in 1958.He was a physiotherapist for the Norwegian Teams at the Olympic Games in Rome, Tokyo, Innsbruck, and Mexico.

After working at separate physical institute at Ryen few years, he teamed up with Hans Gunnari and founded Hans & Olaf AS at Bislett Bad in 1967. At the same time, he Freddy Kaltenborn and took postgraduate studies in manual therapy on his institute in Bygdoy Alle in 1967-1968.

Hans and Olaf founded a physical therapy clinic with an active, inclusive approach, as reflected in its slogan: "Your efforts - Our help - Better form." Together they created an environment among therapists and patients characterized by care and respect for each other, clear feedback and humor, supported by a sturdy professional core. Their active approach diverged from that of the established medical environment, but Hans & Olaf was soon recognized as a leader in physical therapy by the medical community and the public. In particular, it may be pointed out that patients with rheumatic disorders were offered an approach different from that which previously had been available. Many of them have provided feedback that the combination of mobilizing treatment, exercise and dietary guidance lifted their quality of life and allowed many to continue their working lives

From the beginning of his career he was curious and sought new ways to achieve better results. Knowledge combined with broad experience of top sports enabled him to contribute greatly where a combination of manual therapy and exercise was necessary. Along with Hans Gunnari, he developed fitness training apparatus (Norwegian Sequence) which were based on their functional experience. The apparatus were sold to fitness training centers worldwide. Olaf also early believed that patients could benefit from acupuncture and proper nutrition. Dr. George Bentze was one of the first in Norway to use acupuncture and sought "alternative" approaches, especially in nutrition. He was an early collaborator (from 1971) of the institute until his death in 1983, 55 years old. In the early 1970s, he began teaching manual therapy, and the first interns graduated as manual therapists from Hans & Olaf Physiotherapy AS in 1975. They gained recognition for their professional expertise, and in the 1970-80s physiotherapists from round the world came to their clinic for further education in manual therapy. Over the years, hundreds of manual therapists have completed their clinical education here, based on the concepts, principles and techniques of the two founders

He and Hans Gunnari retired from active institute operation in 1989 when four of the staff therapists took over as owners.

In his work as a manual therapist, Olaf was a true pioneer, nationally and internationally. We who have had him as a mentor were impressed by the ways he perfected standard techniques and developed new ones. Students with him were constantly introduced to new varieties in their three-year internships. Olaf is clinician in all ways; patients are his real textbook. Although he could have traveled and held courses and lectures throughout the year, he remained true to the challenge of examining and treating patients. In class, he shared his experience and demonstrated patient care of the highest class. Olaf demands much of himself as well as of others in physiotherapy in general and manual therapy in particular. He has always said clearly whenever he thought the quality was insufficient. Olaf always had a driving commitment and represent us and was a principal contributor to the ascent of our profession in this country. In contexts where Olaf can draws on all hios capabilities, he performs in ways that combine gentleness and strength, considers and compares findings, and reaches clear conclusions and recommendations to patients and students. His abilities in clinical assessments of patients along with his eminent proficiency are his strongest attributes. It is perhaps therefore a paradox that this is particularly evident in his extensive contributions to the literature.

Olaf has had an extensive book and video production with examination and treatment techniques in manual therapy (see the following list) eminent in our national plan. For a long time, continuing education in manual therapy round the world used the material that he had compiled jointly with Freddy Kaltenborn. It became the basic curriculum for the examination in and treatment techniques of physiotherapy and manual therapy. His textbooks compiled jointly with Jern Hamberg have for decades been used as a basis within muscle stretching by both therapists and those active in sports. He introduced, systematized and relayed techniques in pain localization of musculoskeletal disorders more than 30 years ago. The latest textbook for which he has been the principal author covers new techniques in mobilization and manipulation.

Olaf also has been active in the international scientific community since the early 1970s. He and Freddy Kaltenborn have been notable in contributing the Kaltenborn-Evjenth concept rooted in the academic tradition they brought with them from our experts. Olaf quickly became much sought after to speak at international congresses and leader of courses and seminars "worldwide." The list of countries in which he has taught include Sweden, Finland, Germanyø, Spain, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Austsria, Holland, Australia, Japan, Corea, the USA, Canada, and Chile. He has an honorary title from Oakland University, in Michigan, USA. Olaf, Hans Gunnari and Freddy Kaltenborn were key in the development of manual therapy education in several of these countries. Today, foreign colleagues have expressed respect and gratitude for having met and interacted with a person and professional like Olaf.

Olaf was concerned with physical education and healthy diet year-round. And he lived it daily. There are still rumors about the strength sessions he conducted. Not many people climb / pull themselves up ropes from floor to ceiling with their heads down! After retiring from his active professional career around the age of 80, he continued for several years to make his knowledge and experience available to students, experienced manual therapists, and patients he trained with at Gamle Torggata Bad.

Olaf had little use for half-hearted approaches on his topic, and often offered clear, crass - opinions about it in public forums. We who became well acquainted with him got to take part in the warm, caring and inclusive Olaf. Then he was a listening person who shared his life wisdom with a few subtle wordings and a twinkle in his eye. This was also evident when, on special occasions, he pulled out his guitar to sing an Evert Taube song or two.

In 2010 he was awarded HM The King's Medal of Merit in Gold for his contributions to manual therapy and athletics.

Olaf Evjenth died on April 15, 2020 at Fagerborghjemmet (hospice), near the age of 94. Our thoughts go to his daughter Kristin and her family. Together with Hans Gunnari, Olaf founded the Hans & Olaf Physiotherapy clinic. We are grateful for his professional teachings and inspiration. Over the years, many patients have expressed gratitude for the treatment and care they received from Olaf. Therapists and patients remember a monumental man, a great personality who now has passed away.

Posted by Roar Robinson, Hans & Olaf Physiotherapy Clinic The orginal Norwegian text is translated by Michael Brady

Textbook and videos by Olaf Evjenth: (only most recent editions listed)

Sequence Training 1983. Olaf Evjenth and Hans Gunnari; editions in Norwegian, English, and German. Muscle Stretching in Manual Therapy, A Clinical Manual, Volume I, Alfta Rehab Forlag 1998, Olaf Evjenth and Jern Hamberg ISBN 91-85934-02-X. Muscle Stretching in Manual Therapy, A Clinical Manual, Volume II, Alfta Rehab Forlag 1998,. Olaf Evjenth and Jern Hamberg ISBN 91-85934-03-8 Auto Stretching, Alfta Rehab Forlag 1997. Olaf Evjenth and Jern Hamberg. (ISBN 91-85934-05-4) Symptom Provocation and Alleviation tests (1996), DVD. Olaf Evjenth and Roar Robinson, robinso@online.no Manual Mobilization of the Joints, Volume I The Extremities, 6th Edition 2002, Freddy Kaltenborn, Olaf Evjeth, Traudi B. Kaltenborn, D.Morgan E. Vollowitz, Olaf Norlis Bokhandel ISBN 82-7054-043-9 (editions in at least ten other languages) Manual Mobilization of the Joints, Volume II The Spine, 4th Edition 2003, Freddy Kaltenborn, Olaf Evjeth, Traudi B. Kaltenborn, D.Morgan E. Vollowitz Olaf Norlis Bokhandel ISBN 82-7054-069-2 (editions in at least eight other languages) Translatoric Spinal Manipulation 2006, Olaf Evjenth, John Krauss and Doug Creighton, Minneapolis OTPT, ISBN 1-59975-195-X