Shary Oden - Music Therapy for Cancer Patients

ImageShary Oden has taken her musical talent and turned it into a therapy/ healing class for cancer patients. With her unique treatment approach, Shary’s mother recovered at the famous Oasis of Hope cancer treatment center in Mexico. That led to Shary being hired by the Oasis of Hope’s founder, Dr. Contreras, where she has served on the staff for 41 years.

Shary uses happy, uplifting music to stimulate the thymus gland which has a major part in keeping our immune system strong and healthy enough to combat cancer. The recovery rate for cancer patients at Oasis of Hope is far above average compared to other facilities around the world. Hospital rooms are decorated like a hotel, have extra beds for family to stay overnight, and the center provides group healing sessions and music therapy along with holistic treatment plans for the mind, body and spirit.


Each therapy type was demonstrated by Shary. Her Music Therapy is not just listening – the patients sing along with Shary as part of their treatment. The songs are created by Shary or she puts her own words to familiar tunes. We sang along with a few of her tunes and were able to get a sense of the feeling of joy that resulted. We were also treated to Shary’s beautiful voice when she sang a rendition of Summertime, when the livin’ is easy from Porgy and Bess.

Shary also uses Laughter Therapy to raise the level of body secretions which promote joy and well-being; emotions associated with healing. Joke telling is often employed to create the “belly laugh” which is clinically proven to improve a patient’s outlook and optimism. The body is naturally a self-healing mechanism; but we defeat that mechanism when we are feeling down or depressed.

At one point Shary asked us all to laugh as we raised our hands slowly three times. By the end of the exercise we were all roaring with laughter … and it didn’t stop. It was fun. Later, we spontaneously greeted Mike Dungan with this parade of laughter as he approached the podium.