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Overview of
Bee Venom Therapy

By Thomas Stearns Lee, NMD

Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) is an ancient therapy that works well in a variety of medical conditions.  With this therapy, bee venom in bee-sized doses is put into acupuncture sites or other critical spots in the skin.  The resulting sting works wonders with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fractures, sciatica, and many other conditions.

Now why would a naturopathic doctor use this odd therapy?  Simply because it is safe, effective, and less expensive than other therapies for these problems.  One obstacle is fear of the pain from a sting, but when people realize the benefits gained in pain relief, the sting becomes unimportant.

The venom is a natural substance that stresses one small area of the body's immune system.  This can train it to come back stronger.  Bodybuilders use this process with their weights, food, and rest.  Allergic reactions are very rare and avoidable.  Body responses to this bee sting are like a chemical concert.  These responses improve with practice, like any physical skill.  Handling a little stress and coming back stronger is central to increasing the health of any living system and its ability to adapt.

A patient with an advanced case of multiple sclerosis is being treated with BVT.  This woman has experienced a progressive loss of motor nerve control over her lower legs for the past 15 years and chronic severe pain in her knees and feet.  She is in braces from the knees down and needs crutches to walk.  Within three weeks of therapy, twice weekly, she has built up to eight stings per session.  At this point she describes a major decrease in her knee pain, increase in her leg strength, and better circulation in her feet.  This patient also describes a mood uplift or anti-depressive effect after her BVT sessions which lasts for several days.

With patience, good nutrition and physical therapy, it is anticipated that this woman will be able to walk without the crutches within six to eight weeks.  She has had joint damage from her disease process and there is insufficient experience yet to verify reports that this can be reversed.  To simply have reduced her pain levels and increased her coordination and strength has been impressive.

Using bee stings for therapy is reported in ancient Chinese medicine.  Many ancient civilizations celebrated bees as symbols of industry and fertility.  Our recent traditions note it from 18th-century Germany and Eastern European countries, where beekeepers found that accidental stings cleared up arthritis and other maladies.  A Hungarian doctor, Bodog Beck, pioneered this therapy in the 1930s.  Then, a young company, Heinrich Mack, Nachf., decided to test his system by grinding up whole bees, injecting the matter into the muscle and keeping good records of how uncomfortable it made people.  That didn't work so well, oddly enough, and the whole therapy has been discredited in conventional medicine until very recently.

In current media reports, conventional medicine and pharmacy interests have complained of more interest in BVT than their latest drug for multiple sclerosis.  Typical charges are that scientific data is lacking, and in paternalistic tones they present this therapy as yet another act of confusion or quaint desperation.

The venom-triggered repair process works on many diseases.  Any condition with a component of degeneration and loss of muscle or nerve function may respond well.  Especially with autoimmunity, where normal immune defense is directed against one's own tissue, the BVT is unique in its effectiveness.

In medicine there are no guarantees.  This therapy helps many people who have not found relief elsewhere.  It is safe, natural, inexpensive and often has better results than drugs.  If you or a loved one has adjusted to chronic pain, you know how disabling it can be.

If you are looking for this kind of result and like to test things out, consider this therapy.  But remember that the location of stings, their number, and the recovery interval are important variables.  Don't let the hive arrange your diagnosis and treatment -- see an experienced Naturopathic Physician instead.  Consider joining the Apitherapy Society and getting their suggestions.

It would be nice if the so-called journalists on the entertainment/news would donate a fraction of their advertising income to fund some real research at our naturopathic colleges.  They would soon note how natural medicine research projects are stonewalled when results are unable to be patented.  Economic factors and political concerns affect all of us in medicine, but the simple fact is that BVT works very well in tough cases.  Continued scientific attention to bee venom would be welcomed by all of us, but such validation already is extensive worldwide, particularly in the scientific literature of Europe and Russia.

Bee Venom Therapy in the U.S. has been championed by Charles Mraz of Vermont.  He is a beekeeper now in his 90s who got his start when he was 14 years old.  Well-published and the subject of national media attention, he is the former director of the American Apitherapy Society.  The AAS is involved in many projects supporting bee products in health care, including a nationwide research study on Bee Venom Therapy.

American Apitherapy Society
5535 Balboa Blvd., Suite 225
Encino, CA  91316
Phone: 818.501.0446
Fax:    818.995.9334


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Our articles on bee venom therapy:


Overview of Bee Venom Therapy

About Apitherapy

Bee Venom Therapy Protocol

Review of Scientific Literature


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