By Bob Heaton
"Laughter is the Best Medicine" was the title of Andy Switzer's BRA Health Care Lecture in March, and he gave a participating audience a liberal dose. Andy, Director of Wellness and Life Enrichment, said that people should learn to choose to laugh; that it is a personality feature that can be cultivated. He cited the health benefits of serotonin, the"happy chemical," and its positive effect on neurotransmitters. He mentioned immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG), recommended the movie Patch Adams, and said that the benefits of pain reduction therapies last longer when supplemented with laughter - longer than with music.
Andy interspersed his academic points about laughter with quotes on levity and humor by a wide variety of celebrities and the Bible, and with four video presentations. First, a flamboyant cockatoo performed a mating dance which seemed to do nothing but bore his disinterested partner. Then the audience laughed heartily at a baby's enthusiastic delight about an adult tearing up sheets of paper. Also amusing were the antics of a juvenile elephant. And finally, wellness expert Sebastian Gendry engaged the audience with a series of laughter exercises.