Many products of the hive are known to have therapeutic value. ‘Apitherapy’ is the industry term for healing arts that use honey, royal jelly, propolis, and bee pollen. These natural substances are either used topically or ingested. The venom, which is harvested from bees during the summer when plentiful food makes it most potent, is generally administered by subcutaneous injection.
Researchers have isolated at least eighteen components of the poison that have a therapeutic effect. The venom contains enzymes, peptides, and ‘biogenic amines’, which come from proteins. Studies show that injections may cause swelling and redness but also stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Although most patients don’t understand the chemistry involved, they do testify to relief of chronic pain and muscle and nerve debility. These responses were noted by 18th century beekeepers in Eastern Europe and Germany, as multiple stings often alleviated arthritis and rheumatism.
Today people who suffer from MS, chronic fatigue, sciatica and other forms of back pain, nerve pain, and arthritis may want to try BVT, especially if conventional medicine has failed to help them. Lyme Disease has been added to this list in recent years. Others may like the all-natural nature of the treatments. A standardized extract of the poison is injected or delivered in a lotion, liniment, or cream.
Anyone interested in this form of therapy should be sure that they do not have a life-threatening reaction to an insect bite or sting. (Interestingly enough, BVD can be used by a licensed practitioner to desensitize an allergic person to such attacks. Although the patient won’t ever be immune, he or she could have a less severe reaction after treatment.)
It is important that both patient and therapist be informed on the proper protocols for BVT, as well as what to expect during and after treatment. Since there is always the danger of adverse reaction, a licensed practitioner and properly equipped clinic should be found. The therapy can be combined with other methods, such as using acupuncture and trigger points as injection sites. The therapy is a little painful, but those who benefit from it find the initial discomfort well worth while.
People who live in chronic pain or disability, who cannot find relief with conventional methods, and who don’t want to live with constant pain medication may find the answer in BVT. As long as the proper procedures are followed and the therapist is properly trained, this healing art is safe and often very effective.