Last Sunday, my husband and I were hiking out near our cabin, and had a once in a lifetime (I certainly hope) adventure. I was talking about something, when I suddenly interrupted myself with "I just got stung by something! There's another one!" My husband replied "I got stung too! Run!!!" We descended the mountain the fastest we ever have, slipping and sliding on the leaves, I fell on my butt a couple of times. All the way down I whapped the side of my head with a large feather I had found a few minutes earlier. I kept hearing the angry buzz of a bee, apparently caught in my hair. Alternating with this, I flapped my shirt, being unsure if the stinging sensations I felt in my back were new stings, or just the ongoing zinging of the stings I already had. When I got to the bottom, I thrashed my head and back with the branch of a tree to remove any cling-on bees.
Once inside the cabin, we both removed our shirts to assess the damage. My husband had four stings, one on his hand, three on his side. I had six, one on one forearm, one on the other upper arm, and two on each side of my upper back. The rest of that day and night, they stings stung and hurt. Starting the next morning, they itched, swelled up (1-2 inches across), and were pink and warm to the touch. Just yesterday (Wednesday) they began to subside a little. I am very relieved. The constant itching was wearing me down..
This experience reminded me of an article I had read a couple of years ago about bee stings as a potential therapy for pain and inflammation. I thought it interesting to write about. Also known as 'apitherapy', bee venom therapy is used more in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America than in the US. There is evidence that it was used thousands of years ago in ancient Greece and Egypt. More recently, its benefits came to light by way of beekeepers who discovered that their arthritis pain disappeared when they got stung.
Scientific studies have been inconclusive about whether it works, but there is anecdotal evidence that it does. Among the many components of bee venom are strong anti-inflammatory and pain blocking substances.It may also help with blood circulation and reduce swelling.The condtions that may have potential for treament with bee venom include osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, chronic fatigue, Multiple Sclerosis, and asthma, among others.
I seem to have improvement in my chronic hip bursitis, and the IT band (outer thigh, hip to knee), that usually hurts, doesn't. I am not convinced that the hip/thigh improvement is worth the pain and itching of the stings for me. It depends partially on how long the improvement lasts. Also, from what I read, treatment is done in multiple sessions. That I would not do. One session, a few days of discomfort, I could handle, but not ongoing.itching. Some people have milder reactions, some stronger. You might tolerate it better than me. My husband says he did not get any benefits from his stings, and would not want to get apitherapy.
If this piques your interest, you can get more info at: Bee Venom Therapy or Apitherapy Wiki. A note of caution: if you are considering this- get tested for allergy to bee venom before starting the treatment. An allergic reaction could be deadly. Also, I recommend looking for a trained apitherapist. Doing it the way we did it, it is very hard to control the dosage.