Key people: Janine Willink

'I give people a mental holiday.'
Photo: Guy Ackermans

Everyone is indispensable on the campus, but not everyone is in the spotlight every day or gets much of the credit for the hard (team) work that goes on. Resource puts these colleagues in the limelight in the Key People series. This time, meet Janine Willink (57), a masseuse on campus through MassageProfs and a receptionist at Atlas.

‘Giving massages really is my passion. That’s why it was so wonderful when WUR hired me through MassageProfs to give chair massages. Through the vitality budget, colleagues can have a massage from me, among other options. To start with and during the Covid period, these were 20-minute chair massages, but now they can come to my salon. Thanks to WUR, I have a large and continuous stream of clients, which helped when I started my own salon. Although massaging is my passion, I like to have security and not focus on just one thing. That is why I combine massage with reception work. I was especially happy about that during the Covid time.

I give people a mental holiday. I see them relax during my massage, which I achieve using long strokes, a little music, the atmosphere, the oil of their choice and warmth. The workload of WUR employees is quite high and they spend a lot of time sat at a computer, so most of my clients have neck, arm and shoulder complaints.

I give people a mental holiday

The fact that I work at WUR myself makes a difference: some people like it, others don’t. At first I was uncomfortable with colleagues coming to my home, partly because a massage in my salon is often more extensive and the client takes off the top layer of clothing, which is different to a chair massage. But now I particularly like the fact that I can plan my time myself for massages in my own salon, which was not possible as long as I was giving chair massages on the campus.

I have always worked with my hands: first for three years as a hairdresser until I had to stop because of occupational eczema, then for 25 years as a florist until the business went bankrupt. My interest in massages was awakened after my frozen shoulder was massaged away when I was on holiday in Turkey. It’s amazing that you can cure someone or relieve their ailments with a massage – what a power! Besides, I just really love working with my hands and with people. And I’m very interested in bodies and their vitality. I think it’s great that I can stimulate the body’s capacity for self-healing with my work, so that a person can thrive and blossom.’

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