top of page

The Heart Touch Project is a non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of volunteer based healthcare that is dedicated to bringing compassionate, therapeutic touch since 1995.  The Heart Touch Project trains physicians, nurses, health aids, massage and physical therapists and chaplains on how to use an empathetic touch that we call the Heart Touch Method. The Heart Touch Method creates a loving, mindful presence with hospitalized and homebound men, women and children.


To be the leader in training and delivery of compassionate therapeutic touch for medically fragile and terminally ill patients improving the lives for them, their families and their caregivers.



The Heart Touch Project envisions a world in which

empathic touch is utilized for comfort and pain management in every healthcare setting.


Isaac Smith, Founder



In the early 1990s, Shawnee Isaac Smith had a request for a bodywork session from a friend who was terminally ill with AIDS. At that time, an AIDS diagnosis was a virtual death sentence; there was a widespread reluctance among body workers to touch anyone infected with the virus. Shawnee realized that providing therapeutic touch to a person at the end of life can be a profound experience and a tremendous gift—both for the client and for the therapist.



Other persons with AIDS began calling Shawnee for treatment.

Shawnee began recruiting other massage therapists to help but quickly realized that training was needed to help this vulnerable population. Shawnee worked with experts to design a training curriculum to help volunteers become more compassionate and informed in their work. This was 1994 and The Heart Touch Project was started.    


NIH study showed that massage was effective in treating depression.

In 2002 researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center asked The Heart Touch Project to participate in a research project funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of the study was to test the effectiveness of massage therapy as an alternative to drugs in the treatment of depression for those with end-stage AIDS. The study showed that massage was effective in treating depression.


Make an impact in individuals lives by volunteering.

How You Can Help Make A Difference


Learn the skills and sensitivities needed to serve medically fragile and terminally ill patients.


Join our community to learn how you can help make a profound impact in patients lives.


Every dollar you donate helps those in need with the care they deserve.

bottom of page