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  1. #1
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    Jun 2007
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    33,681

    James Arthur Ray - Three Die in Sweat Lodge in Az

    Two people died and an estimated 19 others were taken to hospitals after being overcome while sitting in a sauna-like sweat lodge at a Sedona retreat on Thursday night.
    About 50 people were in a "sweatbox" type structure located at the Angel, a facility which provides spiritual retreats, Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said on Friday.
    Many people began feeling ill after about two hours in the sweat box.

    More at link:
    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...dgedeaths.html
    Last edited by Salem; 08-12-2011 at 02:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2008
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    Louisiana
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    This is just the craziest thing I have ever read!

    So senseless....................

    JMO
    Thoughts and prayers for the people of Paris and all of France!

  3. #3
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    Mar 2005
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    Since the carbon monoxide testing came back negative, is it possible these people dehydrated? 2 hours seems like a very long time in a "sweat box", IMO.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    709
    My late husband was a Native American "medicine man" who conducted sweat lodge ceremonies his entire life. I assisted him in these ceremonies for 14 years. His sweat lodge ceremony consisted of four "doors" or rounds that lasted no more than 20 minutes each. He would heat up no more that 40 rocks for each ceremony. He was always conscious of the heat and would end a round early if it got really hot (sometimes the tips of my ears felt like they were on fire!), especially if there were elders and children in the lodge, or someone with a specific health condition.

    Some lodge holders use many more rocks -- 100 or more -- in their sweat lodge ceremonies. I was in a lodge like that once (conducted by someone else) and I started getting a headache, feeling faint, sweating profously, and having to pee really bad (I imagine my body was almost beginning to shut down). It was very scary.

    My husband always said that the purpose of a sweat lodge was for purification and healing, not to cause pain, distress or death. He always told those who sought his advice to watch out for lodge holders who run the ceremony like it is a macho test of endurance. He said that was not what The Creator intended for the ceremony to be.

    Also, he fasted and trained for many years to run his lodge, and it was passed down through generations of his family. Beware of non-native people who purportedly run a Native American lodge. There are only a few individuals like that who have been taught properly, and anyone else is just pretending!

    (Reading this article really got me angry -- I know those poor people suffered and were quite frightened.)

  5. #5
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    Jun 2007
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    Penelope, thank you for your insight. It does seem like these people suffered and their deaths could have been prevented.
    Last edited by SuziQ; 10-09-2009 at 07:37 PM. Reason: can't spell

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
    My late husband was a Native American "medicine man" who conducted sweat lodge ceremonies his entire life. I assisted him in these ceremonies for 14 years. His sweat lodge ceremony consisted of four "doors" or rounds that lasted no more than 20 minutes each. He would heat up no more that 40 rocks for each ceremony. He was always conscious of the heat and would end a round early if it got really hot (sometimes the tips of my ears felt like they were on fire!), especially if there were elders and children in the lodge, or someone with a specific health condition.

    Some lodge holders use many more rocks -- 100 or more -- in their sweat lodge ceremonies. I was in a lodge like that once (conducted by someone else) and I started getting a headache, feeling faint, sweating profously, and having to pee really bad (I imagine my body was almost beginning to shut down). It was very scary.

    My husband always said that the purpose of a sweat lodge was for purification and healing, not to cause pain, distress or death. He always told those who sought his advice to watch out for lodge holders who run the ceremony like it is a macho test of endurance. He said that was not what The Creator intended for the ceremony to be.

    Also, he fasted and trained for many years to run his lodge, and it was passed down through generations of his family. Beware of non-native people who purportedly run a Native American lodge. There are only a few individuals like that who have been taught properly, and anyone else is just pretending!

    (Reading this article really got me angry -- I know those poor people suffered and were quite frightened.)
    So true! Thank you for this post, Penelope, a lot of non-Native white people will run sweat lodges and other types things to attract money, and their focus is not on safety or real "healing" or spirituality!
    Last edited by MeoW333; 10-09-2009 at 07:34 PM.
    "The cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair."

    -J. Edgar Hoover

  7. #7
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    This program sounds pretty extreme, IMO. And almost 10K? Holy......

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...dgedeaths.html

    (snips)
    The victims were attending a five-day program called "Spiritual Warrior," hosted by self-help guru and inspirational speaker James Arthur Ray.
    Ray, a frequent guest on TV talk shows, calls himself "a personal success strategist," and his Web site details a sampler of international spiritual philosophies that he has fused into his program.

    The Angel Valley Spiritual Resort Web site says that Ray has held the workshop there since 2003. And Ray's Web site lists the cost for next year's program at "only $9,695 per person."
    The program brochure promises that the participants will push themselves past their "self-imposed and conditioned borders" and "learn (and apply) the awesome power of 'integrity of action.'" It describes the sweat lodge as "a ceremonial sauna involving tight, enclosed spaces and intense temperatures."
    Participants in the Ray program also could practice Holotropic Breathwork, a trancelike state brought on by breath control, and Vision Quest, a multi-day stay in the outdoors without food or water, according to the James Ray International literature.

  8. #8
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    Oh no, he's another one that's been on Oprah....

    He was there but didn't become sick.

    http://jamesray.com/

    Video:
    http://jamesray.com/company/news-center.php
    Last edited by SuziQ; 10-09-2009 at 08:13 PM.

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Feb 2006
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    Wow! I read some of James Ray's website -- what a kook. Imagine using Native American ceremonies to enable people to learn how to make money, money and more money. I hope they shut him down permanently.

    That Sweat Lodge looks very large. The largest one my husband ever built could hold 30 people -- Ray's is twice as large. I imagine it is so he can stuff people in. At more than $9,000.00 per person, times 60 or so people, he would certainly be making lots of money! My husband would ask for a donation of $20 per person to cover wood costs and to help compensate him for his time. He would give his helpers some $ from what he collected.

    My husband would also put people out to fast (also called a Vision Quest). Most people would fast for 4 days and 4 nights without food or water, some for just 2. People have to be prepared to do this, there is a lot of teachings that go along with it, and my husband would be on site to monitor the participants. He had certain medicines with him in case people needed them -- including maple syrup that would be given to someone if their blood sugar got too low. (I have fasted 8 times in my life, each time for 4 days. It can be grueling, but you let go of a lot of fears while doing it and gain a lot of personal growth.)

    Diabetics who wanted to fast were watched closely and required to check their blood sugar every few hours. He would sometimes give them tea to drink. The most he ever had fasting at one time was 24, and he had a couple of helpers with him.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuziQ View Post
    This program sounds pretty extreme, IMO. And almost 10K? Holy......

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...dgedeaths.html

    (snips)
    The victims were attending a five-day program called "Spiritual Warrior," hosted by self-help guru and inspirational speaker James Arthur Ray.
    Ray, a frequent guest on TV talk shows, calls himself "a personal success strategist," and his Web site details a sampler of international spiritual philosophies that he has fused into his program.

    The Angel Valley Spiritual Resort Web site says that Ray has held the workshop there since 2003. And Ray's Web site lists the cost for next year's program at "only $9,695 per person."
    The program brochure promises that the participants will push themselves past their "self-imposed and conditioned borders" and "learn (and apply) the awesome power of 'integrity of action.'" It describes the sweat lodge as "a ceremonial sauna involving tight, enclosed spaces and intense temperatures."
    Participants in the Ray program also could practice Holotropic Breathwork, a trancelike state brought on by breath control, and Vision Quest, a multi-day stay in the outdoors without food or water, according to the James Ray International literature.
    James Ray needs to be arrested and charged with manslaughter/murder. It is clear he was concerned about the money and not the safety of these individuals he conned into paying for his "retreat". It disgusts me to see people do this.. the history books already have a twisted opinion on Native American culture, and these money seekers only twist it more for those who are uneducated about it!
    "The cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair."

    -J. Edgar Hoover

  12. #12
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    Feb 2006
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    709
    Based on my experiences with my late husband regarding Sweat Lodges, a lot of factors may have come into play that resulted in this tragedy.
    -- did he have them in there for a couple of hours without ever opening the flap or door?
    -- how many rocks (called Grandfathers) were in there with them? It is a very large sweat lodge-- he must have had a hundred or more rocks in there.
    -- how bad was the heat? Sometimes you can have a lot of rocks in there but the lodge won't get too hot.
    -- What types of rocks were they? Some people use lava rocks which hold the heat. I was in a lodge once where the rocks had sulfur in them and I am allergic to sulfur. I alerted the lodge holder and he let me leave before the round was over to make sure I would not have trouble breathing. Now I am always careful about the types of rocks used.
    -- Once one person panics in a sweat lodge, it can start a chain reaction of panic.

    People complained of weakness and dizzyness. That is to be expected if you are in a hot Sweat Lodge for that long a time. Your heart rate and body temperature will go up and you could get anxious and panicky because your body goes into a kind of fear mode. Many times, my husband would talk people through their fear and get them to calm down. But for some people, he would open the door right away. The two who died may have hyperventilated inside the lodge or had some underlying illness like heart disease. Maybe they had towels places over their noses and mouths (that is sometimes done when the heat is very intense) and somehow suffocated.

    My husband used to talk about how you would lose electrolytes when you did intense sweating in a sweat lodge, so a heart attack may be a possible cause for at least one of the deaths.

    I imagine they will interview the people inside the lodge to determine what went on in their. Were people moaning, crying and begging to leave and James Ray would not let them out? I've been in lodges with people who absolutely freak out and the lodge holder refuses to let them out. I've heard stories where people claw their way out though the tarps or dig their way out through the bottom sides!

  13. #13
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    Dec 2003
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    14,187
    Unless I'm offered a mini sweat lodge with a real native american like Penelope's late husband, I believe I'd stick with the steam room at the Y or gym where the door is unlocked.

  14. #14
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    Somewhere today I read some of the vics had burns and kidney failure. I'll post the article if I come across it again.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2009
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    Sedona is a breathtakingly beautiful place. But, for some reason it has always given me the creeps, too. lol!

    Maybe it's because of the famous 'Sedona Vortex' (or maybe I've just read too much Stephen King in my lifetime)!
    .... ....... My posts are my opinion, only.

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