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Honeybees have a special place in the insect world. It is an insect, yes, a "bug"; but respected, domesticated and highly prized. The social organization of the hive has been studied and admired. Their navigational systems and communication protocols are held in high regard by NASA scientists. And now, to its credit, a portion of the Western medical fraternity is beginning to realize that all the knowledge of healing was not written in just the last 50 years!
A bee farm is known as an "apiary" and using products of the honeybee for healing purposes is known as "apitherapy." Apitherapy is the broad practice of using bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, honey or bee venom for therapeutic use. Like most "alternative" therapies, there is nothing new about it. The only thing "new" is Western medicine finally "discovering" it!
Chinese physicians of 4000 years ago used apitherapy. Hippocrates wrote of its uses. The Roman physician Galen (130 AD) prescribed BVT. Charlemagne was known to use bee stings to alleviate arthritic symptoms. And the Athenian lawmaker Solon, (530 BC), found apiaries so vital to Greek society that laws were written to protect them.
WHY IS JERRY LEWIS SO POPULAR IN FRANCE?
A conservative estimate of MS patients in the US using BVT is 5000. Most go to lay practitioners or self-administer the stings.
MS is a very complex affliction apparently focusing on the nervous system and the ability of the body to transmit nerve information. It also displays links with connective tissue disorders and immune system imbalances. MS patients suffer extreme fatigue, lack of balance and muscle control (ataxia), and chronically progress to immobility, usually becoming wheel-chair bound.
MS is described by Western medicine as "incurable." The 1993 drug interferon beta was looked at hopefully, being the first new drug developed by the biotechnology industry in 30 years. It is now not so hopeful, extremely expensive (at $1000/mo), and patients show only incremental gains if any.
Bee Venom Therapy, on the other hand, is inexpensive, has relatively no side-effects, and is showing so much promise in treatment of MS, that the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is funding studies.
The NMSS makes it very clear that it does not recommend bee stings because of the "absence of clinical studies," and therefore has awarded funding to Fred Lublin, M.D., Director of Neuroimmunology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to conduct a study of its efficacy.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is also funding research. Their grant has gone to John Santilli, M.D., of Bridgeport (Conn.) Hospital for clinical trials.
Both of these tests are taking the "Western" approach of breaking down the components of the bee venom to find the "active" ingredients. A more holistic approach would be to use the natural sting effect.
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Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.
Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.