Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - ABBIE WIGHTWICK Re­porter abbie.wightwick@waleson­

SHE may have the strong­est and best-kept feet in Wales. When Sue Kent de­cided to train as a sports masseuse she had one prob­lem to over­come – she would have to train and work us­ing her feet not her hands.

Sue, 56, was born with arms eight inches long, no thumbs and seven fin­gers – three on one hand, four on the other – af­ter her mother took Thalido­mide for morn­ing sick­ness.

Not one to let that stop her, Sue be­came the first per­son in the UK to qual­ify as a sports masseur us­ing her feet, vol­un­teered at events in­clud­ing the Par­a­lympic Games and Iron­man Wales in Tenby and works from her own clinic in Mum­bles.

When clients come to her for an ex­pert mas­sage they lie on a padded mat on the floor while Sue sits on a bench and works on their mus­cles with her feet and toes.

“It all started when my son, then 14, had back ache and asked me to walk on his back,” the mother of two, who pre­vi­ously worked in mar­ket­ing, said.

“I al­ways used to put sun cream on my chil­dren with my feet and when my son asked me to walk on his back I googled ‘mas­sage by feet’ and saw there was not much on it.”

Us­ing her son as a will­ing guinea pig, Sue first qual­i­fied in re­lax­ation mas­sage in 2008 and did a di­ploma in sports mas­sage at UWIC (now Cardiff Met­ro­pol­i­tan Univer­sity) in Cardiff, be­com­ing the first per­son in the UK to qual­ify us­ing feet rather than hands, in 2010.

“They were ret­i­cent at first but we over­came that and I passed the course,” ad­mits Sue, who says there are ad­van­tages to be­ing mas­saged by feet rather than hands.

“What peo­ple don’t un­der­stand is we have the power of legs be­hind feet, so the strength of the mas­sage is more than a mas­sage with hands. And the big toe can give more power with less dam­age than to the thumb for the masseuse.”

Sue, whose clients range from 14 to 82, keeps fit for work swim­ming and run­ning. She also has to en­sure her feet are in tip top con­di­tion as her work in­volves mas­sag­ing the whole body, in­clud­ing the face.

“I have got the nicest pair of feet in Wales. I have an ex­pert pedi­cure ev­ery three weeks.

“I treat my feet ev­ery morn­ing and put cream on ev­ery day and keep them clean and warm and scrub be­tween clients.”

A steady stream of clients now come to her clinic, Mas­sage by Feet.

Sue, who grew up in Eng­land and moved to Wales in 1989, says she is a role model for mas­sage by feet, with peo­ple now writ­ing to her for ad­vice from all over the world.


Sue Kent is a spe­cial­ist sports masseur who uses her feet

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