Monday, April 27, 2015

Allergy-Proof Your Home

Dr Abe V Rotor
 An ecology-designed home

These are fairly quick, simple, and inexpensive methods of making your home friendlier to your asthma and allergies.

1. Build house on spacious lot and surroundings
2. Free house of carpet and wall paper
3. Knock on wood. Wood is preferable to any construction material.
4. Prefer shiny floors, materials of low-gas ingredients
5. Provide good natural ventilation
6. Let sunshine in, façade towards the east
7. Integrate house plan with garden
8. Screen out plants that are allergen potential
9. Design home in unity and harmony with natural environment, not vice versa
10.Always maintain cleanliness and orderliness at all times.

Brick farmhouse, painting by the author

Your Garden and Your Sex Life

Dell H. Grecia
Women’s Journal
Backyard Ventures
A tribute to the late Dell H Grecia, veteran journalist

Why bother with aphrodisiacs and Viagra when your vegetable garden might yield rich, bountiful - and, yes, cheap - sources of the vitamins that boost sexual vitality?

As you work in your backyard garden, get to know the plants or veggies you grow, especially the benefits your body can reap from including these in your diet.

Dita, Alstonia scholaris, tallest tree at the UST Botanical Garden

            A newly published book, Philippine Herbs to Increase Your Sexual Vitality, authored by three known biologists- Drs. A. V. Rotor, D. C. Ontengco, and R. M. del Rosario- discusses how vitamins are needed to enhance our sex life.

            What we eat greatly affects our energy and drive, according to these three biologists. There is a big difference between people who take food enriched with vitamins and minerals and those who don’t watch what they eat. Doctors observe, for instance that those who meet the requirements of a balanced diet are less inclined to indulge in smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating habits.

            What happens to the body that is properly nourished, specifically with foods that contain the all-important minerals and vitamins? A healthy body pre-disposes one to a zestful sex life?

            What are these vitamins and what specific roles do they play in enhancing one’s sex life?
            Vitamin A is the secret to smooth skin and a healthy glow. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, broccoli and other crucifers, yellow fruits and green leafy veggies. Deficiency in vitamin A leads to poor production of sex hormones and predisposes tissues to inflammation and infection.

            Vitamin B can be derived from unpolished rice and other cereals, nuts and seeds.

          Among the sources of niacin or vitamin B3 are asparagus, mongo sprouts, lean meat and fish. This vitamin improves memory and, together with Vitamin A and minerals, is responsible for that healthy flush and glow.  A deficiency may result in skin eruptions and pellagra.

            There is also pyrodizine, which is vital to the functioning of our brain and nerves. A deficiency is manifested by a general feeling of weakness, neuritis and insomnia, which may all lead to loss of libido and failure to experience orgasm.

            Choline, which is related to vitamin B, enhances sexual arousal and performance. It is an ingredient of lecithin, a rejuvenator. Lecithin also contains Inositol.

            Dr. Jensen believes that Inositol, panthothenic acid, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) constitutes what he calls the “youth vitamin.” Sources of this vitamin other than those already mentioned are eggs, crucifers, liver, legumes, whole grain nuts, and seeds like sesame. These also provide another vitamin B member, biotin, the lack of which in our body could lead to depression.

            Mango, avocado, citrus, tomato, guava, and strawberry are among rich sources of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), When we lack vitamin C, we suffer from bleeding of the gums, poor digestion, slow healing of wounds, susceptibility to cold and infections, shortness of breath- the early symptoms. Poor sex life is also attributed to a deficiency. Prolonged lack of this vitamin may lead to scurvy. It plays a role as well in the absorption of iron.

            Iron, meanwhile, aids in oxygenation of the blood. A well oxygenated blood is efficient in carrying oxygen, hormones, and nutrients to the organs and tissues of the body.
            Although there is no known direct effect on sex., the lack of vitamin D, which is actually a hormone complex known as sterols, adversely affects calcium-phosphorus balance and metabolism. Bone deformity in children and osteoporosis are the chief manifestation of a deficiency.

            Regular sunlight exposure and calcium-phosphorus-rich food protect us from the symptoms of a deficiency in this vitamin. In later years, calcium supplements, mainly from milk, may be necessary.

            Vitamin E, besides slowing down the aging process, adds zest to one’s sex life. It prevents the oxidation of fatty acids, which are important in the production of sex hormones. Vitamin E is found in most of the vitamin-rich food, but some people may still need supplements often marked tocopherols (for childbirth).

            Vitamin F is very badly needed by the thyroid, adrenal, and prostate glands. It promotes calcium absorption, buffers cholesterol, and helps keep our hair and skin looking healthy. Most of the vitamin-rich foods provide us with adequate vitamin F.

            Vitamin B12 was discovered in papait, derived from the chyme of ruminant animals. The chyme is filtered and pasteurized (heated below boiling for a few minutes and filtered). It is mixed with medium rare meat of goat or beef. This is the effective against tuberculosis and anemia.

            Other food sources of this vitamin are fish, poultry, and seaweed like gamet, arusip, and gulaman. Chlorella and spirulina are rich in vitamin B12. Its lack is manifested by fatigue, irritability, paleness, muscle jerking, and mild mental problems- all of which can adversely affect one’s sex life.

            To maximize the vitamins present in the food we eat, we must remember that heat destroys vitamins. Thus, vegetables must not be overcooked.

            Alcohol and coffee prevent the absorption of nutrients, principally vitamins and minerals. It is also good to remember that even if we get the proper kind and amount of food, we must complement it with regular exercise and enough rest. A positive disposition won’t hurt either.

            Why not try working in your garden? It’s a good workout for your body, which will also benefit from fresh air and sunshine.

            Lastly, we advise you to grab a copy of the book, Philippine Herbs to Increase Your Sexual Vitality, and discover the many wonders that vegetables grown in your garden can give you, most specifically to increase your sex vitality.

The book Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality- authored by Dr. Abe V. Rotor  and companions Drs. Delia de Castro-Ontengco and Romualdo M. del Rosario- has caught my undivided attention. Through this column, I wish to share more invaluable tips from the book. 

            Viagra became a byword when the United States’ Food and Drug Administration approved this first oral drug for “treating erectile dysfunction” in March 1998. It is not an aphrodisiac nor a miracle pill that endows all men with the capacity to have vigorous sex, however. It only works for men who are impotent, its manufacturer clarified. Besides, the drug is so expensive that only the rich can afford it.

            Being a new drug, Viagra must be used with caution because of its possible side effects. Thus, my friend Abe and his co-authors decided to write about “Philippine plants known to contribute to sexual vitality other than having common uses as food and as local health remedies. These herbs, among others, could bring about improvements in one’s sex life and general health as well.”

     Since the passage of Republic Act No. 8423, known as the Alternative Medicine Law, the effectiveness of herbal medicines has already been accepted by many. There are now herbal pills manufactured from lagundi, sambong, ampalaya, etc. which can be produced from big drugstores.

            According to the three authors, the aphrodisiacs mentioned in their book are those known in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition, as “ant food, drink or drug which stimulates sexual desire and power. It is derived from the Greek word aprodisiakos (aphrodisiacs), after Aphrodite, who inspired both men and women with great passion. She was regarded as the ideal of woman beauty and is represented in great works of art.”

            Herbs such as avocado, amargoso, garlic, carrots, durian, cashew, kawayan-tinik (spiny bamboo), etc. can be easily grown in the backyard.

            Avocado is popular as a dessert. Its pulp or flesh has aphrodisiac properties. Avocado fruits resemble the shape of a man’s testicles.

            Dr. Paracelcius of the 16th century, author of the Doctrine of Signatures, said that “a plant or plant parts shaped like the sexual organs of a man or woman would make the best aphrodisiacs.”

            As an agronomist, I know avocado is propagated either by seeds (sexually) or asexually (grafted or budded). Some of its phytochemicals are ascorbic acid, beta carotene, calcium, iron, fiber, fat, lecithin, phosphorus, protein, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin D.

            Banana comes in varieties as lakatan, latundan, saba or señorita. Its fruits are an aphrodisiac. It is eaten raw as a dessert.

            The variety saba is made into banana chips and, sometimes, flour. The lakatan is usually processed into banana cake.

            Banana is a perennial herb with rhizome used as planting material. The Bureau of Plant Industry’s lab services process it into wine. Countryside folks usually cook the saba variety (either ripe or unripe) as their breakfast or merienda. It is rich in ash, calcium, crude fiber, glucose, iron, moisture, phophorus, potassium, starch, and vitamin A, B and C.

            The leaves of carrots or remolacha in the form of a decoction from India are used as a stimulant. Its aromatic seeds, also in decoction, are an aphrodisiac. It is a refrigerant and an antiseptic and blood cleanser, capable of dissolving kidney stones and curing jaundice or yellowing of the skin as well.

            Carrots possess numerous phytochemicals. Some of these includes ascorbic acid, ash, carotene, camphor, bromine, boron, carbohydrates, chlorophyll, fiber galactose, and several betas and gammas.

            This root crop  propagated by seeds, is ideal to grow in the backyard, especially if planted in plots. In pots, one or two plants may afford you big roots.

            Ampalaya is bitter gourd or bitter melon in English. Its leaves, flowers and fruits are used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac preparations. Man greatly benefits from these preparations.  A one-half-cup leaf decoction, preferably with honey, is suggested once or twice daily.
            Its other properties are anti-diabetic, anti-tumor, astringent, anti-leukemia, antibiotic, laxative, purgative and refrigerant.

            In China, Ghana and Mexico, bitter gourd is considered an aphrodisiac. It is propagated by seeds and is planted from July to August.

            The shoots of spiny bamboo, locally called kawayan-tinik, are made into popular lumpiang sariwa, pickles or achara, or used as an ingredient for dinengdeng. Harvested ten days after emergence, the shoots contain protein, fat, ash, carbohydrates, crude fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine and ascorbic acid.

            It is used as anti-asthma and anti spasmodic agents, and as stimulant, astringent, tonic and cooling brews. Reproduction is mainly by tillers or shoots- and cuttings, too.

            The rhizomes of ginger or luya in Filipino are boiled into a hot beverage called salabat. Powdered rhizome makes an instant salabat.

            Sliced fresh ginger root is added to stews, sauces, and other Oriental dishes. When ground, it is used in making gingerbread, cakes, biscuits, others. It is also used in wine, liqueurs, and cordials.

            In Asian medicine, it is a digestive aid, stimulant and diuretic. I t is also recommended for rheumatism, asthma, colds and cough, diarrhea, colic or sharp, sudden abdominal pain and indigestion. For reproduction, the rhizomes are used.

                  Okra is called lady’s finger in English. Both young tender fruits and seeds are mucilaginous or watery-sticky substances. They are used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces. Seeds may be used as coffee substitute.

Sampaguita, Jasminium sambac, the country's national flower 
It is the mucilage that has an aphrodisiac effect. It is a stimulant, tonic, diuretic, carminative, and anti- spasmodiac.

            Okra contains ash, calcium, fat, linoleic acid, magnesium oxide, mucilage, nitrogen, pectin, starch, vitamin C, and, of course, water. It is propagated by seeds and is recommended in the backyard for it fruits prolifically.

            Onion, commonly called sibuyas bombay, is used as an article of food and condiments. Its juice, when mixed with honey, ginger juice and ghee, is an aphrodisiac. Its other properties are as stimulant, diuretic, colic, anti-dysentery, spleenic, anticholesterollemic and antimicrobial. It cures sore throat, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), boils, anthrax and hemorrhage.

            Onions have carbohydrates, essential oil, fructans, inulin, protein, vitamin C, and others. Seeds are used for reproduction.

            Garlic or bawang, as it is locally called, is a flavoring agent rather than a veggie. I use fresh garlic cloves to maintain my good blood pressure. Others buy garlic capsules for the same purpose.

            The pungent-smelling volatile oil cleanses the blood, tones the organs generally, and builds up stamina and strength, doubtlessly contributing to its aphrodisiac property. Among the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, and Germans, garlic is widespread among them as an aphrodisiac.

            The east German pharmaceutical journal Du Pharmazie says that “garlic is especially suited for men and women of climacteric age because it contains compounds related to sex hormones.”
 B. Other Herbs for Sexual Vitality
For lack of space, we merely enumerate here other herbs to boost sexual vitality. These are anis, balanoi, balete, batau, bunga, clove, cocoa, dilau, durian, hasmin, ikmo, kapok, cashew, kintsay, langka, linga, makahiya, paminta, pandan mabango, pitogo, sabila, saffron, sarsa, parillang-Chine, takip kuhol, talong-puti, and watercress.

                         Symbol of the former UST Pharmaceutical Garden

Drs. Rotor, Ongtengco, and del Rosario explain: “While immediate effects may be produced in our bodies by purified drugs such as Viagra, herbal treatments may take some time before one sees positive results. The latter’s advantage is that the body’s systems are reached more deeply by the vital components of these herbs, resulting in the development of more lasting health. One must develop a liking for these herbs and be patient in using them. Their proven effects have been cited in researchers and books, locally and abroad.”

 Former EcoSanctuary of St Paul University QC

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Mural of Flowers

Mural and verse by 
Dr Abe V Rotor 
A mural of flowers (4.5 ft x 7 ft), AVR  

Flowers, flowers, each one with a message: 
 Claude Monet's Nymphaea, Van Gogh's sunflower,
Gertrude Stein's red rose -
and I, I am filled with awe by their masterpieces,
a paintbrush in hand and a barren wall.  ~

For sale. Canvas spills and blends two inches on all sides, no need to frame. Can be detached and rolled for transport.  Free copies of award winning books of the author: Living with Nature, Light from the Old Arch, Light in the woods. Also, photo of mural and verse, in glass frame.  Call Dr Abe V Rotor 9396331   

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Painting with the Color Red

Dr Abe V Rotor 
"Red, oh, the bleeding drops of red..."
Lord Alfred Tennyson's imprimatur;  
"O my Luve is like a red, red rose..."
Robert Burns signature.

Tragic and romantic, red the color 
of extremes - passionate love, seduction, 
violence, danger, anger, adventure. 
prize or loss in every action.

our prehistoric ancestors saw red,
the color of fire and blood,
energy and primal life forces,
symbolisms good and bad. 

Red Fish and Brood in acrylic AVRotor 2015
El Niño Autumn in a Forest in acrylic AVRotor 2015
Sun and Red Ball of Fire in a Forest in acrylic, AVRotor 2015

Sea Cavern Mural

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Wall Mural at SPUQC painted by the author, ca 2000

Visit a submarine cave of the tropical seas
through a mural of the imagination -
pristine, unspoiled, undiscovered eversince;
or one, the remnant of exploitation,
man’s endless pursuit of power and riches,
and his concept of the art of creation. ~

Environment: Lichens are Nature's Indicator of Fresh Clean Air

How do we know if we are living in a pristine environment? Consult the lichens in your area.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Squamous lichen, an intermediate of crustose and foliose types. La Mesa Eco Park, QC

A lichen is formed by a alga and a fungus living in symbiosis, which scientists believe to have evolved through millions of years. It is a classical example of evolutionary success through cooperation rather than competition.  The union is so closely knit that they have become strictly inseparable.  The classification of lichens  is based on  species composition, and on their anatomical and morphological characteristics as evidenced by their growing habits.

Lichens are among the longest living organisms.  It is because of their symbiotic advantage over individual organisms. It is a well known fact that a lichen may have a lifespan of several centuries.  In fact a certain Arctic specimen of a crustose lichen, Rhisocarpon geographicum, was found to be about 9000 years old!

If you find lichens growing in the area where you live, you are very lucky. You are away from the black cloud of smog, the confines of "maddening" crowd, smoke belching vehicles, and spewing factory chimneys. And you have all the reasons to be happy - so with your family. This is luxury today.

The air you breath is fresh and clean, cool and soothing. Your lungs are clear, your skin glistens clean and robust, you walk with stride and gait, and you wear a smile even if you are not aware of it. It is because the air that surrounds us is a natural blanket that enwraps our body physically and physiologically, outside and inside, through respiration and circulation.

Thank the lowly lichen - nature's biological indicator.

Foliose lichen in summer. Note large composite mass. Lipa Batangas
Foliose lichen, Parks and Wildlife Nature Center QC. Note the smaller size of this specimen as compared to the foliose lichen in Lipa (above). Lichens may differ not only in structure but by the component members - a lichen being a community of alga and fungus living in mutualism. Generally, as the air becomes polluted the size of a lichen decreases - or may totally disappear.

Fruticose lichen appears like beard. This presence and condition of the fruticose lichen is perhaps the ultimate assurance of good air quality. Tagaytay (Angels Hills Retreat Center)

Community of green algae, lichen and moss (UP Diliman). During the summer months the moss in its sporophytic phase dries up but grows back the following rainy season. This is not the case of lichens.
This mass of lichen grows on cycad (Oliva) growing just across my residence in QC. It is a queer looking kind which does not clearly fall under the general classification of lichens.  It is neither foliose nor fruticose, although it is closer to the latter, except for its tendency to form a compact colony instead of growing freely to form hanging structures for which it earned its name fruticose. The specimen is also different from two other type: Leprose which appear as powdery mass, and Squamulose which is much the same as crustose, but with 
raised edges, which can be folded and lobe-like.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Literature is the people’s collective masterpiece, their imprimatur.

Literature is the mouthpiece through which the people narrate their stories from one generation to another.  It is also an agent of change, never submissive to the whims of history; it is a pathfinder, a sailing vessel which ushers the "tides of change." Philippine Literature Today by AV Rotor and KM Doria, C&E Publication 2014

 Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
About the Cover

The concept of literature by the artist* is viewed from classic-tradition to post-modern movement, which spans over a long period and vast undefined area. It leads to the question, “What is literature today – Philippine literature to be specific?”

Literature, akin to the definition of good government, is of, for and by the people. As a binding force of a culture, literature is about people, their history, their beliefs and ideas.

Literature is the mouthpiece of the people that carries their stories alive and beautiful from generation to generation. It is the people’s collective masterpiece, their imprimatur. Literature is agent of change, never passive, never submissive; it is a pathfinder, a sailing vessel that brings in “the promise of the tides.”

The artist’s idea is in seeing Rizal alive today through his ideals bearing fruits in a free world, Lola Basyang keeping children happy like in his time with mythology’s eternal magic, Balagtas in a new Renaissance in cinemas and the Internet, and Leona Florentino, the muse of Philippine literature as the keeper of the “literary flame.”

- Leo Carlo Rojas Rotor, BSFA-ID (UST), MIT (AdMU),

Three words for a book title, Philippine Literature Today,
The essence of three elements: space, subject and time;
Yet subjective and elusive to the critical eye and mind   
But courageous at the frontline, gentle over our clime.

What is literature to the old is also that to the young;
Bridge of generations, continuum of race and culture;
Heroes of old, heroes of new, and those awaiting, too,
Living book, not archive or litany, to love and treasure.    

Dawn the prelude to sunrise, brings in a new sentinel,
New to the learned, to the unlearned, to the new born,
Sunset not the end of day and coming peace of night;
But rage, for to settle down is sin when the flag is torn.

Wonder the sun rising late and dying young in smog;
Wonder a high rise cast its shadow to hide a  shanty;
Wonder ostentatious shows, courtesy of the needy;
Wonder literature thriving on romantic dichotomy.   

Icons, masters, the pedestal too crowded for a few;
Names branded by fraternity, laurel or olive wreath;
Vanity and fancy, in language beautiful in the clouds,
Cordon sanitaire that wisdom is barred to bequeath. 

While the world moves on by leaps from a small step,
In quantum of knowledge beyond the brain can hold;
Cyberspace the blackboard that was, now unlimited,
Makes the old torch a lightning bolt its power untold.   

Literature its profile from Baby TV to Disney to HBO
Its domain epics and tales to history, science and ad;
Access on the palm and wrist, biometrics and robotics;
Quo vadis literatura? The canons are now old and sad.

Talk about Black Death, talk about Ebola, both dreaded;
Angels and astronauts; about Noah’s flood and Yolanda;
Tenants in the field and condominiums they don’t own;
Man-made islands and deserts, the mall and talipapa.

No part truly speaks of the whole, comprehensive it may,
For literature defies science; unlike happiness multiplies
When divided in the magic of synergy and imagination
Above reason like rainbow that often comes in disguise.

Pathfinders at the heels of the world’s men of letters,    
Universal truth in Rizal, genius put to test in martyrdom;
Reyes the Lola Basyang, relived fairies and the dwarfs
By the hearth and tamed the giants in faraway kingdom.

The doyen, Leona in Philippine poetry past, preserved
The endangered classics of the west tuned in vernacular;
Balagtas brought on stage Shakespearean drama alive;
Four pillars stand over our literature like shining star.   

To our shores came Aesop, Homer, the Grimm brothers,
Stories from far north and south, and across the globe,
In times war and peace, in colonial days and in liberty;
An invisible hand guided our destiny from the cold.  

What now from millenniums past, in postmodern age -
The atom a ticking bomb, the life’s secret in DNA code?
The world has shrunk into a gadget, now owned by all
At fingertip’s command, at anytime, by young and old.          

The second Big Bang that in cyberspace never sleeps,
Rousing and prodding, intruding, unyielding to our right,
Where computer and literature on busy feet moving,
Like a river of no return, rushing aimlessly in the night.

Humbly this book presents a less trodden way, perhaps nil;
Footsteps it lays ahead on a long journey on the horizon
By pioneers unknown, untested, theirs not of the glory
But courage and joy beating a path to a promising zone.  ~             

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Therapeutic Effect of Violin and Nature

Dr Abe V Rotor
Violin and Nature is an experimental approach to music

Therapeutic effect of music to aquarium fish and workshop participants. A trio - violin and flute accompanied by a keyboard.

Music must be elevated from the level of entertainment and expression of skills to one that brings the listener to a state of catharsis, relieving him of the stresses and tensions of daily living. Music therapy is now recognized as part of alternative medicine. There are musical compositions that bring about the so-called Mozart Effect, named after Amadeus Mozart whose compositions are acclaimed by scientists to be the most therapeutic of all musical compositions, even among his contemporaries in the classical and romantic schools.

This article is the result of a research conducted by the author with his class at the UST Graduate School as respondents to the hypothesis that the combination of Violin and Nature sounds has therapeutic effects to the listener. And if so, how? What aspects of our body physiology, mind, psyche, and spirit are affected? In what ways, and how do we measure such effects?
Cover of tape, later copied into CD. Shorter versions are available: Violin and Birds, Violin and Waves
Can auditory art be developed by converting word to music, and re-create the sound of nature to accompany it? The idea is to find a compatible blend of science - the prosaic and formal, with humanities - the entertaining, cultural, and the sounds of nature, definitely a rare experience that takes place in the inner vision of the mind. Violin and Nature is a CD recording or 32 extemporaneous popular and semi-classical compositions played on the violin by the author with accompaniment of birds, insects, wind, waterfall and running stream.

People say, “ Relaks lang” or “just do it” as part of daily conversation. Either it is taken as advice or compliment, the message is clear: life today is growing tenser. “ Take it easy” has a reassuring note that everybody must learn to live in a stressful world.

Both the poor and rich are subject to different forms of stress, so with the city and village dweller. Ironically, stress does not spare growing affluence. In fact, it persists invariably throughout life, virtually from womb to tomb.

The idea of dealing with tension or stress is how one is able to reduce it effectively so as to enjoy life and get rid of its complications from headaches to various psychosomatic symptoms- and eventual health problems, if it is not checked on time.

One proposal is the use of therapeutic effects of music and nature, thus the rationale of this experiment that employs the combined soothing sound of the violin, and the harmony of nature.

Music is well known to reduce tension. Pipe-in music increases work efficiency in corporate offices, takes out boredom in otherwise monotonous assignments, and fosters proper attitude and disposition, when correctly applied. In fact, scientists have established the biological basis of music by being able to increase the production efficiency in poultry and livestock with the use of background music. The key is the reduction of stress in the animal. The same result has yet to be established in plants.

A stressful life builds tension in the body. Headache, wakefulness, palpitation, indigestion, trembling and many other symptoms, which wear away the life force, accompany tension. Tired nerves need rest and quiet, as nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies.

What is tension? It is the effort that is manifested in the shortening of muscle fibers. Physiologists compare muscle tension with “neuromuscular relaxation” to differentiate popular interpretation of relaxation as amusement, recreation, or hobbies. To be relaxed is the direct physiology opposite of being excited or disturbed.

Neurosis and psychoneurosis are at the same time physiological disturbance, for they are forms of tension disorders. Therefore, the key to treatment lies in relaxation.

Who are victims of tension? Everybody is a candidate. These are models of tensed individuals: the “burnt out” housewife, the tagasalo in the family, the gifted child, the dominant lola, the authoritative patriarch. These persons themselves are not only victims of tension; they spread tension among people around them.

Multitudes long for a better life, but they lack courage and resolution to break away from the power of habit. On the other hand, many escape from the harsh realities of life by taking alcohol and drugs.

The whole idea of relaxation is in disciplining the body to budget life’s energies, and to immerse oneself to relaxing moods. Music and nature are a great inexhaustible source. Plato and Confucius looked at music as a department of ethics. They saw the correspondence between character of man and music. Great music, they believed, is in harmony with the universe, restoring order to the physical world. Aristotle on the other hand, the greatest naturalist of the ancient world supported the platonic view, which through the Renaissance to the present dominate the concept of great composition. Great music has always been associated with God’s creation.

Nature on the other hand, produces calming effects to the nerve. Sightseeing, picnic and camping are a good break to prosaic city life. Different from ordinary amusements in the park or theater, the countryside is one arena of peace and quiet. Features on TV and print media provide but an alternative scenario. Today “canned” Nature is being introduced in many forms such as traveling planetarium, CD-ROM Nature Series, Ecology Village, and the like, to illustrate the growing concern of people to experience the positive effects of Nature in an urban setting characterized by a stressful modern life.

This experiment is based on the premise that the combined effects of music and Nature help reduce tension in daily living, particularly among working students in the city.

Conceptual Framework
A- Tension tends to dominate the body to relax, resulting in tension build-up in the muscles;
B- Music (violin solos) and Nature’s sounds( birds, running stream etc.) make a composition which provides a rare listening experience in varying intensity; and
C- The experience enhances relaxation, reduces tension and its physiologic effects in the individual.

The Violin and Nature recorded in compact disc (CD) was then presented for evaluation to students in Research Methodology at the UST Graduate School on two aspects, namely, the content of the tape and the perception of the respondents. Physiologic response was determined by measuring the pulse rate before and after listening to eight sample compositions from the tape for thirty minutes.

These are as follows:

1. Serenade by Toselli (semi- classical)
2. Meditation, from the Thais by Massenet (classical)
3. Lara’s Theme (sound track of the movie, Dr. Zhivago)
4. Beyond the Sunset (ballad)
5. Paper Roses (popular)
6. A Certain Smile (popular)
7. Fascination (popular dance music)
8. Home on the Range (country song)

Respondents Profile

This is the profile of the 42 respondents, which made up one class in research methodology. They are predominantly female students (81%), employed (86%), with ages from 21 to 29 years old (76%).

Content Analysis
The respondents counted eight tunes or pieces, of which 5 are familiar to them. They identified three non-living sounds (running stream, wind, and waterfall, aside from the violin), and two living sounds (mainly birds).

Physiologic Response
The average pulse rates before and after listening to the tape are 79.47 and 73.29 per minute, respectively, or a difference of 6.18. Statistically, the difference is significant, thus confirming the relaxing effects to the respondents after listening to the CD.

The ten criteria used in rating the perception of the respondents are ranked as follows, adopting the Likert Scale. Note: A scale of 1 to 5 was used, where 1 is very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good, and 5 very good.

Criteria Rating Rank
1. One has the feeling of being
transported to a Nature/Wildlife scene. 4.48 1

2. Listening to the tape creates an aura
of peace and serenity. 4.39 2

3. The composition is soothing to hear,
Has calming effect on the nerves. 4.24 3

4. The composition creates a meditative
mood. 3.95 4

5. It brings reminiscence to the
listener of a past experience. 3.64 5

6. It helps one in trying to
forget his problems. 3.59 6

7. One has the felling of being
transported heavenward, to Cloud 9. 3.55 7

8. There is tendency to sleep while
listening to the composition. 3.52 8

9. It brings about a nostalgic feeling. 3.19 9

10. The composition makes one
sad and melancholic. 2.55 10

Analysis and Interpretation
The means the first three criteria fall between good and very good, while the others, except the 10th, are between fair and good. This finding supports the positive relaxing effects of Violin and Nature.

Conclusion and Recommendation
Listening to Violin and Nature slows down pulse rate significantly, thus reducing tension, and brings the listener closer to a state of relaxation. The effects are measured as based on ten criteria. Topping the scores which are classified Very Good are:

1. One has the feeling of being transported to a Nature /Wildlife Scene;
2. Listening to the tape creates an aura of peace and serenity; and
3. The composition is soothing to hear, and has calming effect on the nerves.

There are six other parameters that support the hypothesis that the CD is relaxing. This is different from its effect of bringing nostalgia, sadness and melancholy that received the lowest scores and rankings.

However, there is need to improve the quality of the compositions, and their recording. It is also recommended that similar evaluation be conducted on other age groups and people of different walks of life who are similarly subject to stressful life and environment. ~