SUE’S AMAZING FEET
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