Interviewed by Terri Brandt

Where did you go to school?
I did 2 years of home study, mostly anatomy and Kinesiology, then 2 years in Chicago at the Swanson School of Massage. Where I learned “Treatments and Feet”. I would take the train up on Sunday, go to school all week then take the train back on Friday. The train took over 24 hours each way so I was actually home for less than a day every week.

What did you do before you were a massage therapist?
My family were all farmers. I started helping on the farm at age 4. I always used to get new overalls for my birthday in December. By the time spring and farming season came around they would be comfortable enough to work in.

Were you involved at the National level?
I was National Vice President.

"Elwin is an amazing gentleman. At 97 years old he is still doing what he loves, helping people."

What about your wife?
She [Clarell Nadine Graham] was on the national board of schools for several years. She helped write the requirements for membership. She died in July of 2011 at the age of 70 years and 7 months.

How long were you a school owner?
18 years

How do you think massage has changed in the last 50 years?
Basically massage is the same. The business is different.

How do you see Massage Therapy evolving in the next several years?
It is becoming less instinctive and more medical
He had his office and school in a former funeral home. They used some of the rooms for classes but his treatment area was the former viewing room of the funeral home. He said none of his clients ever complained.

Why did you become a massage therapist?  
To help people.

How has AMTA impacted your career?  
They offered the best seminars and educations.

What was your favorite benefit? People! Meeting other therapists, learning from each other.
What’s one thing that you implemented early on in your career that, today, you are extremely grateful you did?  
I prayed for every client before the massage that I would do the right thing, that they would feel better afterwards and that I would never ask them to come in more often than necessary.

Do you have any tips or advice for those currently practicing?
Don’t worry about the money. Take good care of your clients and the money will take care of itself.

Did you make any mistakes you'd care to share that we could learn from?  
Not really. Listen to the client. Observe them. Ask questions about everything. A lot of time where the pain is, isn’t the problem. If you are not sure don’t treat them. If you need to do some research or refer them to someone else tell the client. Never pretend to be something you are not. Trust your instincts.

Elwin has worked with Professor Hummer from Fort Wayne and worked on some of the Olympic swimmers including Mark Spitz.

Elwin currently lives in an assisted living facility in Muncie, Indiana where he recovered from back surgery. He treats clients while he is there, and had his massage table brought in to his room. While staying there his house caught on fire and he lost most of his belongings. He is living there while he works with the insurance company to rebuild his house.
Thank you, Elwin, for your many years of dedication and helping make the world a better place!