• Meg Donnelly

Race, Diversity and Cultural Competency Resources for Massage Therapists

Updated: Jun 21


On June 2nd, I participated in #BlackOutTuesday by pausing my business social media pages to take time to reflect. I spent this time pulling together resources I can review as a massage therapist. I appreciated this time to look inward… to examine what I can to do better in my life, for my career, for my clients and for our larger community. Below is a list of courses and resources I am reviewing. I share this list in case other massage therapists are interested in these courses and as a way to inform my clients of my commitment to uncovering any of my own unconscious bias.

Courses and Resources (updated on 6/20/2020)


From Healwell: Unconscious Bias: Interrupting the stories that prevent us from delivering optimal care

  • I completed this course on June 5th. It is excellent. I highly recommend it. Parts of it are going to be uncomfortable. But are so necessary in uncovering and understanding. It’s a great place to start.

  • During the month of June, Healwell will donate 50% of the proceeds from this course to the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health

  • Healwell’s donation reminded me of the importance of giving a donation to organizations that work towards equality, so I have made a separate donation to the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health as well.


From College of Massage Therapists of Ontario: Diversity Toolkit: Understanding Difference in Your Practice

  • Initial review of toolkit on 6/1/2020

  • Setting time to review some of the works cited in coming months


From the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities: Cultural and Linguistic Competency, Health Disparities and Health Literacy Training Modules

  • While in Northern Virginia, these resources are listed in our neighboring state of Maryland, to meet their cultural competency continuing education requirements, so they are helpful for states like mine without those resources or requirements

  • I completed the web-based Project Implicit in the past, but it is always an eye opening experience, so I went through a few of the modules again on 6/2/2020.

  • Working through additional resources over the coming months


From Psychology Today: How Well-Meaning Therapists Commit Racism

  • Read on 6/1/2020

  • Geared toward mental health therapists, but has lots of points that translate to the massage profession

  • Provides a good definition of microaggression and provides hyperlinks to other articles worth reviewing as well. The link to Dr. Williams webinar listed in the article is broken but the Addressing Diversity Issues page on Dr. Williams website has great resources.

  • Keep in mind that as a massage therapist, I am not a mental health professional in any way, shape or form. But there are takeaways for any professions that include cultivating a therapeutic alliance with their clients.

The Thinking Practitioner - Episode 16: Benny Vaughn: Black Lives Matter

  • This episode had a profound effect on me. I am so thankful to be able to hear the experiences of one of our premiere leaders in massage and the obstacles he has had and still has to face. I had so many takeaways from his openness and candidness. Additionally, listening to the episode brought me to a conversation with a colleague, reminding me to recognize this as Benny’s experience and ensure I’m not painting a picture of other’s experiences based on his.


Non-Massage Specific Resources that may be helpful for Allies:

  • NoVA Weekend Warriors presents Open Communication: A Candid Conversation on Race, Bias and Cultural Competency While not focused around massage specifically we do touch on my experience with a certain cultural competency class not listed in my resources. And we talk briefly about the large amount of work our industry has to do on the subject. I learned a lot in recording this and hope you have takeaways from it as well. It’s long (1 hr 15 min) but you can stop and start as your time allows. And I welcome all comments and criticism either publicly or through private message. I WILL (and do) make mistakes and missteps here and in my life. But I’m hopefully learning to make them less frequently and recognizing them more quickly when I do. There is also a good resource list included in the description/show notes that lists resources not listed here.


  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo available locally and online at Scrawl Books, Mahagony Books, and most book sellers. I finished this book in just a few days but have gone back and listened to various chapters as I discover behaviors I am exhibiting that are discussed in the book.

  • How to Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi available locally and online at Mahagony Books, Scrawl Books, , and most book sellers. I am currently only on Chapter 5, but I am already re-framing much of my thinking as I read.

Additional Resources: Please feel free to send me additional resources and courses you've found helpful in working towards improved race, diversity and cultural competency.


A special thank you to the many massage therapists and educators that provided me links and resources.


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Meg Donnelly,  
Licensed Massage Therapist

NoVA Weekend Warriors

908.514.8149

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