The concept of cultural awareness and diversity training for massage is relatively new in the United States. The State of Maryland requires all massage therapists to complete one continuing education credit in diversity. As our country becomes more and more diverse, massage therapists should find that ridding ourselves of preconceptions and prejudices can help us grow our businesses to new levels.
Purpose of Diversity Training
Diversity training can increase the participants’ cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills which will lead to greater inclusion of different identity groups. It is taught within organizations to guard against instances of discrimination. Cultural diversity training serves to educate employees about the differences and similarities between people. It also stresses the importance of not treating people differently because of their identity characteristics.
Most Common Areas of Discrimination Complaints
Effective diversity training will focus on the most common areas of discrimination. According to discrimination cases filed in the United States between 2005-2013, as posted by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the most common areas of discrimination are as follows:
• Race discrimination cases comprised roughly 35% of all discrimination cases in the United States filed in 2005 through 2013.
• The second most common cause for filing of discrimination charges is categorized as “Sex” (which may include both gender and sexual orientation), comprising approximately 30% of discrimination charges during the years reported.
• Age discrimination cases accounted for approximately 22% of discrimination charges filed.
• Disability cases make up approximately 20% of discrimination charges.
• National origin, which may or may not have also been included in the race category above, is raised in approximately 10% of discrimination charges.
• Religion is raised in only about 3% of discrimination lawsuits, yet it is a volatile topic, and one which companies must remain aware.
Diversity Training for Massage Continuing Education
Massage therapists can learn more about diversity training for massage. The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a 1 CE course on Diversity and Cultural Awareness. It meets the requirement of one hour of diversity training required by the Maryland Board of Massage. It is also approved by the NCBTMB for 1 CE. For details or to enroll, click here.