Holistic Treatment Has Medical Community Buzzing
7:36 p.m. PDT July 21, 2003
LOS ANGELES -- The sound and the sight of bees may be frightening, but believe it or not, their little stingers may be the only thing that can get rid of your back and neck pain.
Jayne Alan couldn't believe it when Dr. Andrew Kochan suggested he treat
her chronic neck aches with bee stings. She believes it now.
"My neck pain is better than it has been in years," said Alan.
It may sound and look like hocus-pocus, but USC-trained Kochan says studies prove the bee treatment works.
Would you try the sting? "The bee venom stimulates the body to produce it's own anti-inflammatory cortisol," explained Kochan.
Bee specialist Reyah Carlson says the treatment may relieve a wide variety of problems
"Multiple sclerosis, scarring, rheumatoid arthritis, pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue; the list goes on and on," said Carlson.
Tim Bogle came to Kochan for treatment of painful tennis elbow.
"I thought I went as far as I could with conventional treatment. I thought I'd try a bit outside that," said Bogle.
After diluting the venom with numbing medicine, Kochan injected Bogle's elbow in a number of different spots. Bogle has had six treatments.
"I'm truly amazed. I have no pain. I don't need pain medications now that I get the bee venom treatment," said Bogle.
Kochan injected the venom directly into the Alan's painful areas. Because she's had problems for years, the shots may take a few days to work.
"I've tried nerve blocks physical therapy and pain management none have helped enough," said Alan.
The potentially faster, if more frightening treatment was demonstrated at a national conference on bee venom. The classical treatment is with the bee itself. Kochan demonstrated how it works.
Kochan took the live bee in a tweezers, placed it directly on patient Jeff Owen's scar and squeezed, forcing the bee to inject it's stinger.
"It's sore, as it pumps its juice into me, but the injections are more painful. This is not as bad," said Owen during the procedure.
A short time later, Alan, who also got the sting, said that despite how it may look, she agreed the sting does not hurt as much as the shots. The combination of treatments have made a major difference for her.
Being a true scientist, NBC4's Dr. Bruce Hensel had to try the treatment for himself. Hensel, who has had neck pain for years, submitted to a sting administered by Reyah.
There are no long-term studies on the treatment pain with bee venom. If you plan to try it, make sure you're tested for allergies first and make sure to see an expert.
For general information on lower-back pain:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/.
The general number for information on bee venom treatments is (914) 725-7944.
Readers who wish to reach Dr. Kochan, who was featured in the piece
(we do not endorse him or the treatment), his number is (800) 305-7030,
his Web site is www.healingartsresearch.org.
Copyright © 2003, NBC4.tv.