Bee Venom Therapy

General Information

Apitherapy is the medical use of honey bee products. Here at the Chung Institute, we concentrate on using bee venom to incite the body to heal from within. Bee venom therapy has been used in arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, dissolving scar tissue (e.g. keloids), Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Herpes zoster, among other illnesses. The most abundant active component of the venom is melittin, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. However, bee venom is a complex mix of a variety of peptides and proteins, some of which have strong nerve healing and immunogenic effects.

Therapies involving the honey bee have existed for thousands of years and some of them may be old as human medicine itself. The ancient rock art of early hunter-gatherers depicts the honey bee as a source of natural medicine. Bee venom therapy was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China — three Great Civilizations known for their highly developed medical systems. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the “Father of Medicine”, recognized the healing virtues of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and stimulating a healthy immune response.

The more modern study of apitherapy, specifically bee venom, was initiated through the efforts of Austrian physician Philip Terc in his published results “Report about a Peculiar Connection between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism” in 1888. Bodog Beck (Budapest, Hungary 1871 – NYC, 1942) followed Terc, and brought Apitherapy to the United States. More recent popularity has been credited to Charles Mraz (1905 – 1999), a beekeeper from Vermont, who knew Beck.

(taken in part from Andrew Kochan, MD 5-08)

If you would like to know more, please visit the American Apitherapy Society at:
http://www.apitherapy.org/about-apitherapy.html

FAQ

Is Apitherapy covered by insurance?
No

Is Apitherapy a recognized therapy in the US?
No official body in the US has sanctioned Apitherapy as a recognized treatment modality. Bee venom has been approved by the FDA for de-sensitization purposes only. Apitherapy is considered, from both the legal and medical view point, an experimental approach.

How is Bee venom administered?
We use bee venom that has been harvested from live honey bee’s. Over the last two decades, methods have been developed that allow the bee keeper to obtain the venom without sacrificing the bee. We use one of the thinest needles available ( 1/8 the size of a blood drawing needle) and inject a tiny amount under the skin. The pain is approximately 1/3 of that of getting blood drawn at a lab.

What is a typical course of bee venom therapy?
First we give a tiny test dose of bee venom to make sure you are not allergic. After we find that you are not allergic, we give gradually increasing doses once or twice a week.

What about Bee Sting allergy?
I had a bee sting me once and swelled up a lot. I was told I am allergic. Can I still get bee venom therapy? Contrary to popular belief allergy to honey bee sting is relatively rare: about 7 in a thousand persons is allergic. Of this proportion only a small percentage risks anaphylactic shock. Nevertheless bee venom treatment is always to be preceded by a test of sensitivity. A sensitive person can be de-sensitized to bee venom, thus allowing Apitherapy to proceed. AAS recommends that any one that uses or administers bee venom have readily available an Epinephrine kit to be used in case of anaphylactic response and know how to use it. Erroneously, many people consider local swelling after a sting to be an allergic reaction. Swelling is a normal response of the body as are localized redness, swelling and itching. At our Institute, we always take careful precautions. We always have epinephrine on hand in case of an emergency.

How long does it take to know if Bee venom therapy will help?
Usually within the first three treatments there should be discernible improvement.

What things do I have to watch out for after a Bee Venom therapy? See Bee Venom Aftercare

"After years battling chronic Lyme disease, Dr. Brobyn put my illness into remission in only a matter of months. Her abilities as a physician often border the line between medicine and magic. The depth of her knowledge is nothing short of remarkable."

- Justin L. -- Composer/Music Educator

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