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Bee Sting Healing

Bee venom … Rx for auto-immune disease?

Bee venom … Rx for auto-immune disease?

Can a bee sting cure multiple sclerosis?

Most people try to avoid any contact with bees.  However, to some people, honey bees are miniature flying drugstores that could reverse the course of multiple sclerosis.  It is a controversial treatment known as bee venom therapy. 

Kelly Ames was in high school when multiple sclerosis crept into her life.  By the time Kelly was 22, her symptoms became impossible to ignore:

“One day I was at work and I was walking down a flight of stairs—there must have been, like, 12 stairs—where I just lost the feeling in my feet… and I fell down a flight of stairs. And the women in my office… I explained to them that my feet sometimes get numb.”

Medical tests revealed the cruel truth—Kelly had MS.  The unforgiving disease first robbed her of the ability to walk alone.  Before long, the disease attacked Kelly’s eyes:

“Within that week, I lost the vision in my left eye and I had no control over my muscles. It was just very devastating. I hated to depend on other people, but, at times, I needed other people to help me.”

Kelly Ames says bee venom stopped MS

Kelly Ames says bee venom stopped MS

Kelly’s doctor put her on steroids.  These potent drugs can temporarily relieve the symptoms of MS.  But for Kelly, the steroids could not stop the advance of the disease:

“Having the steroid dripped into my arm, I would sit there for an hour and a half looking at other MS people coming in the wheelchairs and wondering if that’s going to be me someday, in that wheelchair.”

Then Kelly met a woman who had literally walked away from her wheelchair after stinging herself with honeybees. For Kelly Ames, it was a last ray of hope.  Kelly’s father brought her to a local beekeeper who had been helping MS patients for years. The rest would be up to Kelly:

“He told me that he didn’t want to be bothered by me if I wasn’t serious about it.  He said, you have to do this for six months straight every other day, faithfully. He scared me when he said that because I realized I really had to take the responsibility of sticking to this. And I did.”

Kelly and her boyfriend set up a morning routine.  He placed the bees at specific spots on Kelly’s body, spots where nerves running to the damaged areas were most accessible.  For Kelly’s failing eyesight, that was behind the ear.  Bees were also placed on Kelly’s lower back to treat the weakness in her legs.  They were left in place for as long as 15 minutes to allow all their venom to penetrate the skin.  Kelly’s nervous system had been so ravaged by MS that she was stung several hundred times before she actually felt the pain of the sting:

“I could actually feel what a bee sting felt like, and it hurt. It really hurt. I was screaming. I had my head in my pillow, and I was screaming. And I was screaming because I was happy because I could feel again. Within a week, my eyesight started to slowly come back. I didn’t depend on my cane as much. And right then and there, I just knew, finally, this was kicking in, and it was working for me.”

Bees also stung Kelly behind her ear

Bees also stung Kelly behind her ear

While some doctors dismiss the therapy as little better than voodoo, Kelly’s remarkable recovery is hardly unique.  Kelly went on to teach bee venom therapy to others suffering from multiple sclerosis.  One of her students was Maureen Naughton:

“When I decided to do bee venom therapy, we kind of kept it a little hush-hush because I didn’t know what other people’s reactions would be. I know what the reactions of my doctors were.  So I figured, you know, we’ll keep it a little quiet.  I was always afraid of bees and being stung, but I just felt that this was my only answer.”

Maureen began to experience the symptoms of MS shortly after the birth of her second child.  By the time Maureen began bee sting therapy, MS had numbed her feet so thoroughly, that she could hardly sense they were there:

“Within minutes, my foot was warm. You could feel the venom going through, and the blood felt like there was life in my foot again. It was just an incredible feeling. I knew, right from that moment, that something good was happening, and I felt that this was going to help me.”

A photo of Maureen and her son was taken six weeks after she began the bee venom therapy.  In the photo, Maureen had just crossed the finish line in a seven-mile MS Walk-a-thon.  Should we prize bees for their sting as well as their honey?  Mainstream science has hardly begun to address the question, though some doctors believe bee venom therapy is far too promising to be ignored.