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Since the methodology is not easy to understand without traditional Chinese medicine background, so here use a one person garden to describe how to design the harmony mind-body garden.   However, this methodology and design principles can also be used for specific groups, such as patients in all kinds of hospitals or nursing home patients, like Alzheimers.

From the analyze, the garden site has an excess yang and needs more yin to achieve balance. The following are yin yang pairs used in this design:

  • Nature (yin) and human (yang):  human and nature are one, and their relationships should be in harmony and balanced situation.  In this case, this patient has excess Yang, so the garden needs to have extra yin to balance the excess Yang.
  • Active behavior (yang) and passive appreciation (yin):  Human’s behavior needs to be in the design consideration.   For example, the “reflexology” path for exercise is active behavior.  And just sitting in the garden to view the beauty is passive behavior.  
  • Garden (yin) and surrounding (yang): In TCM, nothing is isolated from surrounding environment.  Everything related to each other.  In this case, a bamboo door and bridge are designed for the purpose to separate outside “world” from inside “world”, to create an atmosphere that this is a quiet and private place for the person to relax and enjoy nature and himself.  The surrounding areas have traffic, noise and also including the patient’s outside world. The door and the bridge are the sign that the person can leave any pressure, burden, negative emotion outside and enjoy a peaceful environment inside. 
  • House and garden: The site itself needs to have yin yang balance. In this case, the house and big outdoor fire place are Yang, and the garden created is Yin.

From the Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, everything in the nature and human corresponds to the five elements, to keep a person healthy, the Qi in humans should follow the changing of nature and seasons.  When Qi in humans follows the changing of nature and seasons, system of five elements keep harmony in universe, in nature and in man. For examples in this garden:

One example, Euonymus or burning bushes are used for the wall in the meditation area.  They will turn bright red in fall, which will bring a totally different feeling/atmosphere to the garden at that point.  The bright color that represents fall would help the patient adjust his body's harmony (Qi’s movement) to match the rythms of nature. 
Another example of responding to seasonal change is to design the garden to change with the four seasons.  From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective human bodies and psyches should follow the rhythms of nature - the rhythm of day and night, the lunar cycle, the four seasons.  The health of human body is directly tied to conditions in nature. 

The above give you a general idea, for details of how to design this garden. We will put a article here soon.


So, when patient is in this garden, his Liver-Qi stagnation will be gradually regulated, Liver-fire and heart-fire will gradually go away.  The function of spleen will then return to normal.  Symptoms like being irritable, problems sleeping, digestion problems, will slowly disappear.  Instead of stress, frustration and anxiety he will feel calm, peaceful and joyful. 





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