Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabling illness that affects well over one million adults worldwide.
For many sufferers, MS means a lifetime of taking medications that offer little relief for a body that progressively gets worse. Such was the case for Pat Wagner of Waldorf, Md., until her mother suggested that she get stung - by a bee. Pat is now known as the "Bee Lady" for her practice of using bee stings to treat the debilitating symptoms of MS. For Pat, it's been a miracle, one that she's been happily sharing with people from all over the world - by stinging them.
(Editor's Note: The following suggests a therapy that must not be acted upon without the careful coordination of treatment with the patient's primary care doctor and, preferably, an allergist. Bee sting venom can cause anaphylactic shock which can cause sudden death. The risk of shock is unacceptably high to try bee sting therapy without the supervision of an allergist.)
On the next page, learn how bee sting therapy works and find out whether it's right for you.
What to Expect
Q: How does bee venom therapy work?
A: Bee Venom therapy (BVT) uses bee venom to relieve the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. A bee is held to a person's skin and allowed to sting, releasing its "venom" into the recipient. The principal active component of bee venom is melittin, a powerful anti-inflammatory substance, said to be 100 times more potent than hydrocortisone.
Melittin also helps to activate the body's adrenal glands, which causes one's own natural healing response. Another component, adolapin, is known for its painkilling properties. These compounds seem to greatly improve vision, coordination, mobility, and sensitivity to touch, among other things, in MS patients. They also decrease pain, can add to a feeling of overall well-being, and even boost energy levels.
Q: I have MS. How do I know if BVT is right for me?
A: MS patients often opt for BVT upon diagnosis. Others turn to BVT after unsuccessfully trying more conventional treatments, such as corticosteroid drugs, Interferon beta, etc. The decision to try BVT depends on your personal inclination toward a natural approach, input from your doctor and the ability to tolerate bee stings.
Q: Where does one get stung? Does it hurt?
A: BVT has been done literally from head to toe (except the eyes and inside the ears). The particular location(s) for getting stung vary depending on the particular symptoms being treated. Bee stings can be unpleasant, temporarily leaving swollen, itchy bumps on the skin. But the "stingy," hot feeling usually lasts for less than a minute.
To reduce these side effects, many use a light fan or a hot, wet washcloth on the site of the sting. Others, however, are convinced some reaction to the sting is essential to successful therapy.
Potential Effects of BVT
Q: What if I'm allergic to bee stings?
A: Fortunately, the incidence of serious allergic reactions to honeybee stings in the United States is low, one to five percent of the population. However, if you're sensitive to bee stings, you might want to consult an allergist before pursuing treatment.
BVT could be life threatening for someone truly allergic to bee venom. For people with only a sensitivity, gradual use of the venom over time may help build up a tolerance.
Q: Who will perform this treatment for me?
A: Apitherapists, beekeepers, acupuncturists, and lay practitioners are all possibilities. Be sure certain whoever it is follows BVT guidelines, and you should always inform your doctor of your decision before trying any new treatment.
Q: Is BVT a permanent cure for MS?
A: Currently there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, the reported dramatic improvements in MS from the use of bee venom indicate that it offers considerable relief to a condition that, for most, only gets worse.
Q: Can I do BVT in conjunction with taking conventional medications for MS?
A: Any medication will most likely slow the benefits seen using BVT. However, if you are taking a medication that cannot be stopped, BVT can still be used. If you are taking a beta-blocker, ask for another medication that is not a beta-blocker.
Q: How much does BVT cost? Will my insurance pay for it?
A: There is generally no charge for administering BVT. Therefore, insurance does not come into play. However, honeybees are good medicine, and they're free!
If you'd like to contact Pat Wagner for more information:
Write: Pat Wagner "The Bee Lady"
5431 Lucy Drive
Waldorf, MD 20601-3217