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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » Complementary Therapies » Bee Sting Therapy

    Bee Sting Therapy

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    'I was stung by 1,500 bees and I feel great': MS sufferer's pioneering therapy
    Honey BeeBee stings have been credited with helping a multiple sclerosis patient regain her quality of life.

    Sami Chugg, 45, says she was bedridden before turning to the unusual treatment which sees bees being held up to the sufferer's back to sting the area around the spine.

    Now she is now back on her feet with a much improved quality of life.

    The 45-year-old was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago and says she was numb and unable to move until she tried a treatment known as Bee Venom Therapy or Apitherapy.

    The treatment involves holding a live bee in a pair of tweezers and deliberately stinging an area of skin on the patient's body.

    Proponents of the method believe the venom in the sting helps ease the pain of MS symptoms and also stimulates the body to fight back.
    Miss Chugg says she was stung around 1,500 in eighteen months, and feels much better for it.

    She said: 'Most people would be terrified by the prospect of being stung by a bee. 

    'But when you have a condition like MS, that involves the numbing of the body, any kind of sensation is welcome - even if it's from a bee sting.'

    She continued: 'You use a pair of tweezers and get hold of a single bee. 

    'Then you graually de-sensitise your body to the sting by injecting it in and out of your skin a few times.

    'You have to be very careful, in case your body is prone to anaphylactic shock – which can be fatal. You can't just walk in there and encourage the bees to sting you randomly.'

    She added: 'Sadly bees are killed by stinging, so you certainly only want to do this for a very good cause. But the relief it gave me was tremendous.'

    Researchers claim that certain compounds in bee venom reduce inflammation and pain and a combination of all its ingredients helps the body to release natural healing compounds.

    The alternative treatment remains unproven by evidence-based medicine but it has been used to treat other wasting diseases and arthritis.

    The therapy begins gradually as the body needs to be desensitised to the stings, but eventually multiple bees are used at one time and are left in the skin for up to 20 minutes.

    Miss Chugg, who was treated twice a week, said: 'There are three locations we used for the stings.

    'Above the shoulders, the middle back, and then the lumbar area.  It's all centred around your spine. It's changed my life and my approach to life.'

    She now campaigns for the 'Safe Land for Bees' project, which aims to raise awareness of the decline in bee populations.

    She said: 'I became very concerned. I owed bees an awful lot and I felt they were a vital part of our ecosystem.

    'Life without them would be unimaginable, because the work they do as pollinators basically keeps our environment ticking over.'

    More than 100,000 Britons have MS, a condition in which immune cells attack the protective myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord.

    Initially, the body can repair the damage, but over time the nerves become scarred and stop transmitting signals.

    The bee sting treatment is based on the theory of 'counter irritation' - a new pain firing up the body's immune system to produce a response which dampens the effects of an existing condition.

    The exact composition of bee venom is not known. It is a chemical cocktail containing enzymes and proteins.

    Experts have warned the treatment is potentially dangerous with the risk of anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

    And a spokesman for the MS Society has previously said U.S. trials on purified bee venom extract had not found any lasting effect.

    He said MS was a disease with a variable course. Some patients had fewer symptoms than others or even none at times, making it difficult to tell whether therapy was working.

    Source: The Daily Mail © Associated Newspapers Ltd 2010 (06/04/10)

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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