Woman Reportedly Dies After Live Bee Sting Acupuncture

Huffington Post     By Mary Papenfuss    March 23, 2018 

She suffered a severe allergic reaction, slipped into a coma and died from multi-organ failure.

A woman in Spain has reportedly died after being stung by a bee during an unusual kind of acupuncture treatment. 

Apitherapy, or “bee therapy,” is an alternative medicine practice that uses products made by honeybees, including bee venom, to treat ailments from arthritis to burns to muscle aches. It’s been touted as a beauty regimen by actress Gwyneth Paltrow and holistic health practitioners, but research has shown there can be health risks in using this type of treatment.

One type of apitherapy ― live bee acupuncture ― was administered to a 55-year-old woman as a treatment for stress and muscle contractions. The procedure involved placing live bees on the patient’s body so could be stung and injected with bee venom.

The woman was treated with live bee stings on a monthly basis for two years and suffered no ill effects, researchers wrote in a case study published in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology. However, during her last treatment, she suffered a severe allergic reaction, slipped into a coma and died from multiple organ failure several weeks later.

Previous tolerance to bee stings does not mean later stings carry no risk. In fact, the researchers noted that “repeated exposure to the allergen was found to carry a greater risk of severe allergic reactions.”

The study’s authors said they believe this was the first reported case of death by bee venom apitherapy “due to complications of severe anaphylaxis.” The study did not provide a date for the woman’s death.

A 2015 study of apitherapy published in PLoS One found that nearly 30 percent of patients experienced some kind of negative reaction. Researchers issued warnings against the treatment and suggested better training for practitioners and better emergency care.

“The risks of undergoing apitherapy may exceed the presumed benefits, leading us to conclude that this practice is both unsafe and unadvisable,” the authors stated.

In 2016, Paltrow told The New York Times that she found live bee acupuncture “pretty incredible,” adding: “But man it’s painful.”

Last year, actor Gerard Butler revealed that he went into anaphylactic shock after being injected with the venom of 23 bees during treatment for muscle problems. His apitherapy didn’t involve the use of live bees.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/woman-dies-after-bee-acupuncture_us_5ab47cbee4b054d118e16fed

Practitioner's Corner: http://www.jiaci.org/revistas/vol28issue1_6-2.pdf

The American Apitherapy Society's Response to BVT Incident in Spain on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/apitherapy.org/?hc_ref=ARTIMrCnyQ36jqRGDD_bgmI5xkvL_lZ1_fdjLKOf-Y9gGBAsv9m6BZ_oZ_R4TSa6HKw&fref=nf

"The AAS is sorry to hear about this unfortunate incident. We recognize that we do not have a complete picture based on the information included in the article but it appears that several aspects are problematic ....

Specifics:

1. Initial reactions to bee venom therapy can occur, and that’s why it's imperative to properly screen patients and ensure they are following recommendations. 
2. Have rescue equipment and an emergency plan in place. Ideally train the provider.
3. One death out of thousands of treatments is very low risk as compared to many standard medical procedures, and far safer statistically than reactions to medication. This particular incident is only one of 2-3 reported in the last decade. 
4. The AAS seeks to promote safe implementation through knowledge and education.

Keep in mind that Apitherapy is defined as the therapeutic use of ALL beehive products to include raw honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax and lastly bee venom. Apitherapy has been effectively and safely used for centuries across the globe.

Best Regards,

Frederique Keller L.Ac
President, American Apitherapy Society Inc."
www.apitherapy.org

What Is Bee Propolis? 10 Great Uses

Global Healing Center  By   June 13, 2014

(This article by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM was originally posted June 13, 2014 in the Global Healing Center. It is featured in The American Apitherapy Society July 2017 Newsletter where you can sign up for the newsletter and learn more about the 2017 Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course And Conference, Theory In Practice, A Hands-On Approach, November 10-12, 2017at The Redondo Beach Hotel, Redondo Beach, CA)

Most people are familiar with the gorgeous yellow and amber colors typical of honeycomb and beeswax. But another bee-produced substance exists and it doesn’t get discussed quite as much — propolis. Propolis is a resinous material that bees use to seal small cracks and gaps in the hive (beeswax seals the larger gaps). It’s made when bees collect resin from trees and other sources and mix it with a little bit of honey. Like its cousin, beeswax, propolis has been found to offer numerous health benefits, and many researchers are looking into its role for various therapeutic uses.

The Benefits and Uses for Propolis

In ancient cultures, propolis (or bee resin) was often used for abscesses and minor wounds. [1] [2] Bees, in an effort to close gaps in hives, use propolis as a precautionary measure to keep out dangerous microbes and fungi. [3] Recent findings have confirmed its potent action against many harmful pathogens and more research has established its enormous healing benefits. Here are some of the researched uses and health benefits of propolis.

Use #1: Discourage Infection

Researchers have tested propolis against several dangerous microbes, and the results suggest that propolis is powerful against aggressive bacteria. [4] Although the strength of propolis can vary based on geography, its protective benefits remain constantly present. Part of the reason for the action may be due to it containing a wide spectrum of flavonoids. [5]

Use #2: Natural Antibiotic

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in medicine, often due to the overuse of antibiotic medication. People who are taking antibiotics are often advised to take probiotics to aid in the preservation of good bacteria in the intestines. Researchers have determined that propolis offers powerful antibiotic properties. The isolated acids from propolis have been shown to be an effective agent against many bacteria, including staph. [6]

Use #3: Minor Burns

In one study, Brazilian propolis was tested against a common prescription cream used to help burns. The results? The propolis was just as effective. Propolis was even more soothing for minor burns than the conventional medication. [7] [8]

Use #4: Ear Infections

Middle-ear infections affect millions of children each year, and even adults. Sometimes it can lead to temporary hearing loss, a terrifying prospect for most people. A compound in propolis, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, has shown effectiveness at easing inner ear inflammation. Although preliminary, this new research is causing a buzz (pun intended) of hopeful outlook for the use of propolis. [9]

Use #5: Supports the Immune System

Candida albicans, a fungus characterized by yeast overgrowth, usually affects the genital and oral areas. In the ever-continuing quest for finding a suitable and effective remedy, researchers analyzed propolis. Results indicated that propolis may inhibit Candida from growing, and it has the potential for stimulating a healthy immune response to Candida infestation. [10]

Use #6: Nail Infections

Lab tests examining the use of propolis against fungal nail infections found that propolis offered a greater range of protection compared to a popularly-prescribed pharmaceutical. The pharmaceutical product was resistant to seven of the fungi, an issue not displayed by propolis. [11]

Use #7: Vaginal Herpes

By some accounts, propolis has been found to be more effective than some pharmaceutical applications against vaginal herpes. Tests also suggest that propolis may significantly reduce the chance of an advanced herpes infection. [12] In addition, as suggested above, propolis may offer protection against genital Candida infections. [13]

Use #8: Dental Care

The link between oral health and overall physical health has been documented for decades. There’s no question that a proper dental regimen is an important part of enjoying vibrant wellbeing. With the increasing concern of exposure to fluoride, natural dental care has gained much attention. Currently, beneficial properties of propolis have suggested its effectiveness at promoting oral health…even possibly being a natural alternative to fluoride. [14] [15]

Use #9: Blood Sugar

Diabetes is an issue that affects millions of adults and children. It is often approached with life-long treatment measures, such as insulin injections and pharmaceutical medications. Studies have shown that propolis may inhibit enzymes that increase blood sugar. [16] [17] It is believed that the antioxidant compounds in propolis are responsible for its blood sugar-stabilizing benefits.

Use #10: Carcinogen Fighter

Take this with a grain of salt, but ancient Assyrians would often use propolis to inhibit tumor growth, and recent research suggests some logic behind this. The CAPE compounds found in propolis have been shown to hamper cell growth in cervical and prostate cancer. [18] [19] Certain types of propolis, like the red Brazilian and brown Cuban, have also been shown to combat compounds that contribute to cancer cell growth . [20] [21]

Using Propolis

Propolis is often sold in capsule or tincture form, and some natural toothpastes will contain it instead of fluoride. While many people can safely use propolis as a complementary approach toward health, some may experience allergic reactions. It is always best to test a small amount of the mixture in conjunction with careful physician monitoring before supplementing, especially if you have allergies.

What are your experiences using propolis? Share them with us in the comments!

References (21)

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-is-bee-propolis-10-great-uses/?a_aid=553999c2f15d0&data1=fb-bee&data2=what-is-bee-propolis-10-great-uses

Alhambra Acupuncturists's 'Bee Sting Therapy' Investigated

Pasadena Star News      By Zen Vuong  August 1, 2015

ALHAMBRA >> An Alhambra acupuncturist’s license is on the line after state medical regulators alleged he was “grossly negligent” when using bees to sting patients as part of a medical treatment, an attorney said.

For the past four years, Xin Sheng “Tom” Zhou has used bee sting therapy to treat diseases and chronic pain, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and migraines.

The use of honeybee products, such as bee venom and honey, to treat an assortment of ailments is not uncommon. At issue in Zhou’s case is his use of a bee stinger to inject the venom into patients.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Acupuncture Board filed an accusation, or formal statement of charges, against Zhou on July 23, saying he was repeatedly and grossly negligent in his practice because his office doesn’t have an allergic reaction kit, epinephrine or over-the-counter medication for patients who experience severe adverse reactions to bee stings.

• Video: Watch an acupuncturist give himself bee sting therapy

Medical regulators threatened Zhou with license suspension or probation as well as mandatory repayment of investigation and enforcement costs. He is scheduled to appear before an administrative hearing Monday.

“The use of a bee stinger as the delivery mechanism of venom is not within the standard of care and is considered to be an extreme departure from the standard of care,” the legal document states. “The standard of care requires bee venom to be administered in a way which is comparable to the herbals, e.g. topically, orally consumed liquid or tablet or capsule.”

Zhou stopped the alternative procedure when a dispute arose, but his practice at 701 W. Valley Blvd. Suite 53 is still bustling.

“Please give me permission to get bee sting therapy,” Monica Weerasinghe, who suffers from ALS, scribbled on paper because she could barely talk. Needles pricked her body as she lay on an acupuncture table.

• Photos: Elegant Bee Clinic in Alhambra

Unable to pay her doctor’s fees, Weerasinghe, brings small gifts like Toblerone when she comes in for weekly hour-long sessions. Two years ago, Weerasinghe couldn’t speak a single word, said Angelica Ulloa, Zhou’s assistant. But after receiving two treatments involving bees stinging her temple, Weerasinghe could talk and walk again, Ulloa said.

RISKY THERAPY

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved bee sting therapy. In fact, it is a potentially risky treatment that could produce life-threatening allergic reactions, said Dr. Michael Levine, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

“There is very, very limited data in lab settings to suggest that some of the components of bee venom might decrease lab markers of inflammation,” he said. “There is incredibly limited human data in actual studies to suggest that there is actual benefits to it.”

American Apitherapy Society Inc., which has more than 1,600 members, according to its website, believes the medicinal use of honeybee products such as bee venom, honey and royal jelly could treat immune system, neurologic, musculoskeletal and infectious problems, including hay fever, ALS, shingles, scar pain, tendonitis and spinal pain. These practitioners also use apitherapy to treat wounds, sprains, fractures and tumors, according to the group’s website.

“The board’s biggest problem is the use of the bee stinger,” said John Dratz Jr., Zhou’s attorney. “They don’t have a problem with bee venom. Bee sting therapy is the most effective way to deliver it historically, and it’s still being used. We feel that it’s safe, and we’ve not gotten any solid, scientific evidence from the board side that it’s not safe.”

If a patient experiences an allergic reaction, Zhou could use herbal medicine and acupuncture to manage it or he could employ an EpiPen located in his office to deal with anaphylactic shock, Dratz said. None of his 1,000 or so patients have suffered a severe allergic reaction in the thousands of times he has practiced bee sting therapy in the past four years, he said.

Nevertheless, “the Acupuncture Board stands by the accusation filed against Xin Sheng Zhou,” said Cristina Valdivia, spokeswoman for the medical regulators.

Zhou started his treatments with one sting as an allergy test. He used a pair of tweezers to pluck a bee from a small box filled with hundreds of them, iced the patient’s skin, then forced the insect to stab a strategic spot. He removed the stinger immediately during the test prick but thereafter left it in for about five minutes, he said. The number of bees used depends on the patient’s condition, but it was never more than a dozen, he said.

Dr. John H. Smith Jr., a Pasadena-based allergist and immunologist, said without knowing exactly how much venom is in stingers, a practitioner could subject his patients to too much and possibly induce anaphylactic shock. Some people are extremely allergic, so even a small amount of bee venom could cause extreme reactions. Others have a higher tolerance but are still allergic. Thus multiple tests involving differing amounts is needed, he said.

ANCIENT REMEDY

Bee venom acupuncture has been used in Eastern Asia since at least the 2nd century B.C. and is becoming more popular in Korea, according to a 2005 report published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. The therapy is also reportedly growing in popularity in China.

Some people in the United States also practice the alternative therapy. Dr. Andrew Kochan’s regenerative injection practice in Sherman Oaks offered bee sting therapy for six years before he opted for more hygienic bee venom in a syringe, he said.

In the past 25 years, he said he has treated several hundred patients for conditions such as osteoarthritis, acute tendonitis and postherpetic neuralgia — a complication of shingles that could produce blistering pain. Bee venom injections are an extremely safe remedy, he said.

“This is a treatment that’s been around for thousands of years,” Kochan said. “The Chinese used it. The Egyptians used it. The Greeks used it. It’s well documented in all the medical texts from various ancient civilizations and has survived. I’ve done it for 25 years, and I’ve seen people have complete relief of certain problems after my administering of it.”

Read & View Video at: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/health/20150801/alhambra-acupuncturists-bee-sting-therapy-investigated

Bee Venom Therapy - The Charlie Mraz Story

For those interested in the history of Apitherapy and the American Apitherapy Society, Inc., you might want to check out this video, "Physician Heal Thyself" - The Charlie Mraz Story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljcyn0ko7Aw 
http://www.apitherapy.org/

American Apitherapy Society

From the American Apitherapy Society: The AAS is on the VERGE of officially ANNOUNCING the location & dates of the 2015 Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course & Conference CMACC in our February Newsletter! 
SIGN UP for our FREE monthly newsletter at www.apitherapy.org and look for clues on our Facebook page.

APITHERAPY is the medicinal use of beehive products made by honeybees including raw honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom, beeswax, drone larvae.

Visit AAS: http://www.apitherapy.org/

American Apitherapy Society Newsletter: October 2014

Apitherapy is the medicinal use of honeybee products. This includes honey, propolis, royal jelly, pollen, and bee venom. Founded in 1989,the AAS is a community of people interested in this natural, holistic practice.

 
The American Apitherapy Society Newsletter for October 2014 is now available. Subscribe and read at: http://www.apitherapy.org/about-aas/newsletter