For Mind-Body Health, Visit Yume Japanese Gardens

Whether heading for the beach at Rocky Point, the hiking trails in Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon, the cool forests on Mt. Lemmon or simply going for a walk in Tucson’s Reid Park after a hard day, we all instinctively know that getting out into natural surroundings makes us feel better.

The healing power of nature is not simply anecdotal. Where the human hand has intervened vigorously in nature—say, to create a garden—the restorative effects can be even greater. This is especially true of Japanese garden settings. Scientific research is documenting that the design principles and plantings of these gardens are the most effective of all natural or created landscapes in benefiting visitors.

The therapeutic value of a Japanese garden appears in different ways. Japanese studies have shown that visitors are more relaxed, because what they see induces slow alpha brain waves, identical to those of someone who takes time out to reflect or meditate. They enter an “alpha state”.

People who regularly visit Japanese gardens report decreased feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress and loneliness. To enhance this experience, Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson offers a research-supported 12-week Stroll for Well-Being Program, open to anyone suffering from grief, PTSD, depression, the uncertainty of serious illness or other emotional distress. Participants report greater feelings of happiness and joy afterward.

Japanese gardens do more than simply lift our mood, however. They also provide a variety of positive physical effects. Mind-body medical research is leading growing numbers of U.S. hospitals to install Japanese gardens for patients. Regular visits or viewing lowers blood pressure and muscle tension and boosts the immune system through increased white blood cell counts. Patients with access to Japanese gardens also use fewer painkillers and suffer somewhat lower rates of postsurgical complications.

Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson is located at 2130 N. Alvernon Way, one block south of the Tucson Botanical Gardens. It is open October 1 to May 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For information about the Gardens and the Stroll for Well-Being program, call
520-303-3945 or visit

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