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Ask a Practitioner: Apitherapy

So what's it like to be a bee sting therapist?

Heal

Photograph by Lee Murray

What is apitherapy?Apitherapy is using honey bee products for therapeutic purposes—for example, eating honey and putting it on the body, or using the sting in bee venom therapy. I’m an apitherapist, and I sting people with bees.That sounds painful.We ice the area first. If we didn’t, it would hurt. With ice you don’t feel the actual sting. One of our clients, a lady in her 80s, doesn’t take any ice, and she takes 60 stings. Straight.How does it work?We numb the area with ice, and I determine how many stings are needed. I feel for pain, for calcium buildups, and then I administer the stings. We put the bees in reverse tweezers and leave them alone for about 15 minutes—giving it time for the venom to get pumped into the sting. Then I touch the bee against the skin. The sting happens immediately. The venom enters the calcium deposit and melts it down and destroys it. Then the blood comes in and washes that deposit away.The stings help by bringing fresh blood to the area, and that helps with pain associated with conditions like multiple sclerosis. Bee venom can also destroy arthritis, and it helps peop …

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