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Wellness Reigns Supreme in Southern Arizona

The Wellness Benefits of Living at Dove Mountain

Since the 1800s, Southern Arizona has been a revered health and wellness destination. The climate here isn’t just warm—it’s a soothing balm for aches and pains. Bright sunshine lifts the spirits while clean air and low humidity offer a haven for those seeking solace from pulmonary issues and arthritis.

Rooted in Wellness: A History of Healing

The indigenous people of the Tucson Valley have long used the desert as a natural pharmacy, expertly crafting teas, salves and poultices from native flora including prickly pear, white sage and creosote. From the early Hohokam to the Tohono O’odham, these practices have been passed down through the generations and continue to inform research into the properties of native plants for the potential development of new drugs.

Later, it was realized that the desert air and sunlight were healing all on their own. For more than a century, a tuberculosis diagnosis meant a prescription for the desert. With the completion of two transcontinental railroads in the late 1800s, the first wave of health seekers arrived in sun-kissed new territory. One of the most notable figures drawn to Arizona to soothe a consumptive cough was the notorious John Henry “Doc” Holliday. His name is recognizable from local history and the iconic 1993 movie Tombstone, filmed at Old Tucson Studios and based on the infamous gunfight at O.K. Corral.

Resort-style sanitoriums followed, offering patients strengthening and healing in the warm desert sunshine and laying the foundation for Southern Arizona’s highly regarded healthcare system. Many of these patients stayed and thrived in Arizona, contributing to a population boom that helped the territory achieve statehood in 1912. Arizona’s fantastic climate quickly joined copper, cattle, cotton and citrus as a key driver of the state’s economy.

Desert Sanitorium, which would become Tucson Medical Center, Southern Arizona’s leading provider of emergency and pediatric care. Courtesy of Tucson Medical Center.


Soon, the opening of national parks and dude ranches expanded tourism to the state, giving visitors the chance to trade congested cities for the open majesty of western landscapes.

A Center for Integrative Health

By the late twentieth century, Southern Arizona was fast becoming a hub for holistic medicine and healthcare innovation.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned visionary of alternative medicine, founded the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1994. His approach considers the whole person and all aspects of their lifestyle in the healing process, rather than treating illness as a single focus.

As a culture of holistic care for body, mind and spirit developed, wellness centers founded to reinforce healthy habits evolved into luxurious spas and retreats, drawing high-profile celebrities like Oprah. Complimentary healing modalities like acupuncture, Chinese medicine and ayurveda became readily available, while studios offering restorative yoga, Tai Chi and pilates cropped up throughout the region. Today, Tucson ranks with Miami and New York City for the highest number of residents practicing yoga.

Thanks in part to Tucson and Marana’s abundant riding trails, equine therapy also flourished. Especially beneficial for those recovering from grief or trauma, equine therapy uses the bond between horse and rider and connection to nature to support healing.

Wellness at Dove Mountain

Living at Dove Mountain means unmatched wellness practices are close to home. Visit these nearby gems to begin the journey to a healthier you:

The Labyrinth at Sanctuary Cove, a natural preserve housing an All Creeds Chapel for meditation and restoration. Courtesy of Discover Marana.


About Dove Mountain

The Dove Mountain community features new luxury homes tucked into stunning high desert landscapes, including custom foothills homes with sweeping canyon and mountain views and golf course homes located on or steps from three of the best golf courses in Arizona.

To learn more about all that the Dove Mountain community has to offer, contact Dove Mountain Properties at 888-603-7600, or connect with us via our online inquiry form.

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