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Nov 2, 2007

The Buzz On Bee Venom Therapy For Arthritis

A bee sting can be painful and dangerous, especially if you're allergic to bee venom. But some doctors claim the latter can help people with arthritis who don't respond well to traditional medications.

That's the buzz from Dr. Christopher Kim, medical director of the Monmouth Pain Institute in Red Bank, New Jersey, who has used bee venom therapy or apitherapy on 3,000 patients. Writing in the German medical journal "Rheumatologie," Kim said that apitherapy is safe, effective, and free of serious side effects.

Kim's endorsement of bee venom therapy follows a two-year- study he conducted on 108 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis who were not helped by conventional painkillers. He first gave the subjects twice weekly injections of been venom and gradually increased the shots. After 12 injections, most of the patients showed marked improvement.

Kim is not the only doctor using this controversial technique. Over 50 American physicians report good results using bee venom to treat not only pain but arthritic conditions, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, asthma, hearing loss, and even premenstrual syndrome.

Dr. Lawrence Cohen of Danbury, Connecticut, said one of his patients suffered pain as a result of two hip replacement operations. Louise Chirasello of Brewster, New York, had tried all kinds of painkillers but none helped her.

"I was so sore, you could not touch my hips without me crying out," she recalled.
The 84-year-old widow claims she was cured by a shot of bee venom. She received several injections of bee venom from Cohen weekly until her dose was reduced to one injection every two or three weeks. After a year, she was still pain-free.

At the eighth annual Asian Apicultural Association conference at the University of West Australia, Nepalese entomologist Ratna Thapa said he had a 50 - 60 percent success rate in treating arthritis with bee venom, and a 90 percent success rate when this substance was used to treat lower back and shoulder pain. But the idea is not new.

"Bee venom therapy has been around for thousands of years. Reference to the treatment can be found in ancient Egypt and Greek medical writings. Also known as apitherapy, the technique is more widely used in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America. Treatments supposedly started after beekeepers, who were stung many times, noticed their arthritis pains were relieved. Some practitioners still use live bee stings to deliver the venom," according to Charles Downey of WebMD.

What's the secret behind the success of bee venom? Cohen says it contains mellitin, an anti-inflammatory agent that is a hundred times stronger than cortisone, and adolapin which also fights inflammation and pain. Practitioners believe these ingredients work together and help the body release natural healing compounds that improve blood circulation and reduce swelling.

Still, others are not convinced of its efficacy, especially since most of the evidence is anecdotal and there are no double blind studies supporting this therapy. Skeptics warn that one to five percent of the population is allergic to bee venom and the injections or bee stings can be painful.

"Evaluations of most US medical treatments are based on double-blind studies - where neither the subject nor researcher knows who is getting the real medicine or a placebo. Most reports about bee venom therapy are anecdotal. Even those studies looking at more than one patient, such as Kim's, have not included a placebo group for comparison," Downey said.

Until we know for sure whether bee venom is safe and effective, it's best to stick to other tried and true remedies for arthritis. One of them is Flexcerin, a natural supplement that stops arthritis pain and restores joint function so you can be where the action is. For details, go to http://www.flexcerin.com.

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine http://www.thearticleinsiders.com

1 comment:

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