Dora van Gelder Kunz

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Dora Kunz 2.jpg

Dora van Gelder Kunz (April 28, 1904 – August 25, 1999) was an American writer, psychic, alternative healer, and leader in the Theosophical Society in America, serving as the tenth President of that organization for twelve years.

Early life

Dora van Gelder.jpg

Life in Australia


Immigration to United States

Marriage and family life

Activities in TSA

Camp Indralaya at Orcas Island, Pumpkin Hollow Farm, Northeast Federation, New York TS

Therapeutic Touch

Nursing professor Dolores Krieger became acquainted with Dora Kunz in a meditation group. Together they studied the techniques of Hungarian healer Colonel Oszkar Estabany and developed the treatment method called Therapeutic Touch (TT). This was the beginning of a lengthy collaboration in research, healing, and teaching. In 1972, they started to conduct workshops at Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center, Indralaya, and many other locations, and taught TT to thousands of health care professionals. Practitioners of TT consciously direct flows of energy near the human body to correct imbalances and subtly promote healing. Dora Kunz demonstrated a highly developed sensitivity:

Through the use of this natural ability she was able to perceive blockages and dysrhythms in a patient's energy field, subtle disharmonies not accessible to other medical technologies. Dora diagnosed numerous perplexing cases referred by physicians and other scientists and often suggested treatments and resources for her patients.

Dora's abilities extended beyond the usual sense perception. For example, she was particularly known for her work with the unseen human field energies in an individual. Since childhood Dora was aware of such forces, and she made a lifetime study of how they work and how they relate to attitudes and emotions, this awareness later evolved into an understanding of the universal healing field from which both healers and patients can draw fresh, potent healing energies.[1]

Kunz and Krieger developed methods for teaching these techniques. The Nurse-Healer Professional Association honored Mrs. Kunz in 1980 as "a model researcher, teacher, and practitioner of healing." Dolores Krieger published The Spiritual Dimension of Therapeutic Touch (Rochester, Vermont: Bear & Co., 2004), a compilation of case studies and transcriptions of lectures that had been presented by Dora Kunz.

President of the TSA


Cover of The Personal Aura

As is customary for Presidents of the TSA, Mrs. Kunz acted as Editor in Chief of the national periodical, The American Theosophist, and she contributed to other Theosophical journals as well. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 39 articles by or about Dora van Gelder and over 200 under the name Dora Kunz. She wrote several books:

  • The Real World of Fairies: A First-Person Account. 2nd ed., Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1999. She described her childhood encounters with fairies and devas.
  • "Christmas of the Angels" was a popular Christmas talk that has been issued as an audio recording and printed as a pamphlet. [However, Mrs. Kunz left a note disavowing authorship of the pamphlet. See TSA Archives, Kunz Family Collection, Records Series 25.01, Box 22, Folder 16.]
  • The Personal Aura. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1991. This volume is beautifully illustrated with watercolors of auras painted by Juanita Donahoo under the author's instruction. It has been printed in several editions and languages.
  • Spiritual Aspects of the Healing Arts. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1985. This was a compilation of articles that was reprinted in 1995 under the name Spiritual Healing.
  • The Chakras & the Human Energy Fields: Correlations Between Medical Science and Clairvoyant Observation. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989. Coauthor Dr. Shafica Karagulla. This described medical research with Dr. Karagulla, in which Dora used her perception of auras to describe patient conditions.

Later years

Dora Kunz

Mrs. Kunz died in Seattle on August 25, 1999 after being a member of the Theosophical Society in America for 80 years. Many friends wrote memorials describing her warmth and compassion, energy, practicality, and the infectious spontaneity of her laughter.

Biographical works

  • Chelsey, Frank, and Kirstin Van Gelder. A Most Unusual Life:Dora van Gelder Kunz: Clairvoyant, Theosophist, Healer. Wheaton, Illinois: Quest Books, 2015. A biography by two people who knew her well. Illustrated.
  • Karagulla, Dr. Shafica. Breakthrough to Creativity. New York: DeVorss & Company, 1967. This book about psychic abilities has material about Dora Kunz, referring to her by the pseudonym "Diane."

Online resources




  1. "History of Therapeutic Touch at Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center," at