"Apitherapy" might be the latest alternative-health craze you've probably never heard of - but you're about to.
An apitherapy session replaces the hair-thin needles used in acupuncture with the stings of live bees. Apitherapists use older honey bees who are nearing the end of their month-long life cycle since the act of stinging causes the bees death. Using older bees who are already about to pass away allows younger bees to continue pollinating, and there doesn't seem to be a difference in the potency of their venom. The practitioner presses the bee against the skin, encouraging it to sting. Some treatments call for just a few stings, while others call for more over repeated sessions.
A 55-year-old woman has become the first known person to die as a result of an apitherapy session.
Bee stings have been shown to show anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects in some people. Bee venom is used in medical treatments, but not like this. The practice of "live bee acupuncture"/"bee string acupuncture" doesn't sit well with a lot of people.
I don't really have any strong feelings about apitherapy. I've heard from beeks whose arthritis in their hands went away when they started keeping bees/getting stung regularly, but I have yet to see an actual scientific study. Acupuncture with bees seems...excessive.— Kathleen Rhoades (@KBRhoades) March 20, 2018
What an abhorrent practice! Bees are supposed to pollinate NOT be used in a “therapy” with questionable end results!!— Lisa James (@Mrs_lisa_James_) March 20, 2018
"Then they pinch the insect’s head until the sting emerges. The creatures die shortly afterwards."— Victoria (@VBirthmark) March 20, 2018
I'm sorry but this practice should be illegal. Heck I'm even terrified of bees but this just seems wrong
It wasn't just the practice that people had questions about. The woman was not allergic to bees when treatments began, but coroners believe that after repeated treatments, she developed a lethal allergy to bee venom. What was the practitioner doing?
A fair number of people mocked the woman, saying she must have been incredibly stupid to undergo the therapy or that she somehow deserved to die.
That's what her azz get , people better stop w all these dam " ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS "— Josey Wales (@gomab91) March 20, 2018
Hopefully the first of many. Piece of shit humans just destroying animal life everywhere we possibly can— Subvert (@Subvert12) March 21, 2018
I'm glad the person died in a way, maybe people will finally think twice about doing it now. If not, hope more people die until they realize it 🤷♀️— Gekikara (@BlackSaltYoga) March 20, 2018
We weren't the only ones horrified by those kinds of comments. Eventually a more compassionate side to Twitter emerged.
I know people who swear by this therapy. Odd seeing people laughing and talking about Darwin Awards. People who resort to this kind of therapy clearly have chronic pain if it is alleviated with bee stings...think about it. Why are some so close minded and hateful is my question?— Donald Little (@Truthriseswlove) March 21, 2018
Dude. Bees are my life. I know. My family is generations of apiarists. Its the family bussiness. If anyone is heavily involved its me.— This is rapture (@SpaceYannoid) March 20, 2018
These bees are saving people. Bee accupuncture has been extremely beneficial to peoples lives, esp the elderly.
Damn, I'm deathly allergic to bee venom and this post, especially the pic is horrible. RIP bee sting victim. I hope after this, if this tx continues, that therapists are licensed to keep epipens on hand to at least give patients a chance of getting to ER.— Marna Lister (@Ocean_River) March 20, 2018
Awww poor bees feel so bad for them.. that lady though? What a terrible person! Let's shame her on Twitter after she is dead!— PERSONA NON GRATA (@ColeMFSanders) March 20, 2018
What?? A woman died like she actually died and your emphasis is on the bee dying being considered "animal cruelty" wow what a world we live unreal!— LiveFromToronto (@RealestRaptor87) March 20, 2018
That’s what you’re focused on? Not the fact that a woman just died?— Brandon Hohn (@Brandon_Hohn) March 20, 2018
Our condolences to the victim's friends and family. It's unknown if there will be charges or fines for the practitioner. We will keep you updated as the story develops.