Olaf Ivar Evjenth was born in Fauske, Norway, on May 1, 1926, and died in Oslo on April 15, 2020, after a life dedicated to the development of our profession. An admirable person, for many reasons that we surely will not translate into words, with an innovative spirit, and in perpetual improvement.
He was a great sportsman, with national and international merits, in athletics. He graduated from the National Gymnastics School in 1952 and the Orthopedic Institute of Oslo in 1958. Subsequently, he studied and worked with Professor Kaltenborn. In 1968, they began to collaborate in the development of the Nordic OMT System, Kaltenborn-Evjenth Concept, presented internationally in Grand Canary Island (Spain) in 1973. He expanded the Kaltenborn concept with specialized techniques for muscle stretching and coordination training, and gave a new dimension to massage, making it functional. He considered necessary to increase performance in patients, and not only control pain or gain range of motion, so he designed intensive training programs for patients, based on his training as a coach and his youth as an athlete.
From that moment, he began his academic activity at an international level that continued throughout practically his entire life. We were fortunate to receive him as a postgraduate professor at the University of Zaragoza from 1998, and he came to Zaragoza for the last time in November 2010, for the I National Congress of OMT-E, so his contribution to education Spanish manual therapists has been essential.
Professor Evjenth’s books, together with those in which he collaborated with Professor Kaltenborn have supported all our learning of Manual Therapy, and it is rare the day that in our professional activity we do not appeal to them, such as the breadth of the knowledge that they contain and its suitability for practice. In 2012 we had the privilege of completing with him a new edition of a book dedicated to stretching and self-stretching of the extremities, edited by OMT-E. His availability for the development of this editorial project, critical to us, was complete.
His personality, forged in the capacity of effort, gave his way of working an iron discipline and a taste for precision that can be seen in his way of doing manual therapy.
His contributions to manual therapy are numerous; his interest in performing an accurate diagnosis has provided us with invaluable tools for structural differentiation, and the evaluation and treatment of soft tissue dysfunction. His muscle stretching techniques and functional massage developed decades ago are unmatched. His participation in updating joint mobilization techniques together with Professor Kaltenborn has provided us with safe, effective, and adapted techniques to the scientific evidence that facilitate clinical praxis, the latter aspect that Olaf considered essential along with his teaching activity. He said that “before the joint there are the soft parts, after the joint and finally the adjustment and motor coordination of the soft parts so that the correction of the dysfunction lasts and reinforcement must be done with self-treatment and self-training of the function”. We think that if the Nobel award in Physiotherapy existed, Professor Evjenth undoubtedly deserves it.
In addition to his impressive way of working, he has left a deep mark on us as a person due to his affability and friendliness; he always had a smile for others, a word, a gesture, or a song. Charming and joker, he made humor an art and a way to lighten the long hours of teaching, which he faced with astonishing ease, thanks to his immense experience and knowledge.
He loved what he did and motivated us to want to be better people and professionals because he was a great reference. He had a brilliant mind, a good heart, and an expert, healing hands—a significant loss.
Dear Olaf, already in Valhalla with your friend Freddy Kaltenborn, thank you very much for your immense legacy and for all the moments we have been fortunate to share, an invaluable present of providence. We will try to live up to it, although you have set the bar very high.
Our condolences to the family and closest friends.
Administration Board OMT-Spain