bee keeper pushes the stinger into my arm
The stinger in my arm (it hurt the longer I kept it in)
I thought I was just being a tough chic, but apparently bee stings are therapeutic. Taking a chance and letting the beekeeper sting me with a live honey bee in far eastern Mongolia (days from the nearest hospital) wasn't stupid...it may have in fact made me healthier!
People who use bee venom for medicinal purposes don't wait around for random insect attacks. Using long tweezers, they pick up live honey bees (which they've usually raised themselves), put the insects next to their skin, and let them do what comes naturally. You might have thought that your single encounter with a bee was enough, but people undergoing apitherapy may get stung 80 times a day or more.
Why would anyone subject himself to such pain? Because bee stings are thought to help ease the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia; they're also thought to promote desensitization to bee stings. These claims don't come from beekeepers looking for a profit; they're made by patients whose experience with bee venom has turned them into believers. One woman says that 80 stings every other day helped reverse her rheumatoid arthritis. A woman with multiple sclerosis found that the leg spasms she'd been having calmed down after she started using bees to sting herself a few times each day.Thanks to Rachel for taking these pictures!