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Jan. 20 2010 - 10:49 am | 133 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

James Ray says his hormone therapy didn’t contribute to Sedona deaths

James Arthur Ray: The more you know...

James Arthur Ray: The more you know...

And the case of the three people who died during an October Sedona, AZ sweat lodge ceremony meant to mirror Native American religious rituals officially grows a bit stranger.

James Ray, the controversial spiritual guru who led the ceremony, has released a letter from his lawyers indicating that his hormone replacement therapy played no role in the deaths and illnesses of 19 others in the tent.

“Over the last decade, Mr. Ray has spent over 200 days a year on the road teaching his courses,” according to the letter, dated Jan. 4. It’s addressed to Bill Hughes, a supervising deputy lawyer for the Yavapai County Attorney Office.

“This is a demanding schedule and it began to take its toll. Years ago, Mr. Ray sought out responsible medical help and he got it. These doctors and medical professionals diagnosed him as having a hormone deficiency.

“Most recently, Mr. Ray has been treated by Dr. Andre Berger, a respected medical professional. See http://www.rejuvalife.md/about-doctor-berger.php.”

The site says Berger’s “passion for anti-aging and non-surgical cosmetic medicine is evident to anyone who meets him.”

The letter continues: “Dr. Berger prescribed these medications for good and sound medical reasons and are part of a treatment plan. The medications are prescribed in extremely low dosages to deal with the hormone deficiency and any potential side effects related to the medication. Dr. Berger carefully monitors these small dosages, along with Mr. Ray’s medical condition, on a regular basis. Mr. Ray took the medication, as prescribed, every Sunday and did not take any of the medication on the day of the incident (Thursday). Mr. Ray has never reacted adversely to these medications, and there is absolutely no scientific evidence that such low dosages can produce the adverse effects speculated upon in the media accounts.

“This is not an illegal and secret performance-enhancing treatment plan such as those used by professional athletes. All treatments were approved by a doctor who openly discusses the advantages of hormone treatment….”

The letter concludes that any media accounts and doctors “who have speculated on the relationship between the tragedy at issue in this case and Mr. Ray’s treatments know none of this.”

Now we all know. Meanwhile, a Navajo lawmaker in the state has filed a bill aimed at regulating the use of traditional Native American rituals, such as sweat lodge ceremonies, off of tribal lands.

“The dominant society has taken all that we have: our land, our water, our language,” state Sen. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels, a former president of the Navajo Nation, was quoted as saying regarding his legislation. “And now they are trying to take our way of life. I think it has to stop.”


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    About Me

    I'm a staff reporter for Indian Country Today. I've written for American Indian Report, News from Indian Country, Politics, High Country News, Cultural Survival Quarterly, The New York Sun, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other places. I sometimes appear on NPR to discuss Indian and political issues. I'm a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. I live in metro Washington, D.C. E-mail me: robertcap@gmail.com Twitter: RobCapriccioso

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