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STINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE; MS sufferer Sami treated with venom from 1500 BEES.

Byline: Craig McDonald

A MULTIPLE sclerosis victim has seen a dramatic improvement in her condition - after being stung by 1500 bees.

Sami Chugg is using Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) to fight her symptoms.

The treatment involves holding a bee in a pair of tweezers and deliberately stinging an area of skin.

Experts believe the venom in the sting stimulates the body to fight back.

Sami was stung at least 1500 times over 18 months. And she claims the therapy has made her mobile again.

She said: "When I started the BVT, I couldn't get out of bed or get out of my room. It was really grim.

"Most people would be terrified by the prospect of being stung by a bee.

"But when you have a condition like MS that involves the numbing of the body, any kind of sensation is welcome, even if it's from a bee sting.

"You use a pair of tweezers and get hold of a single bee. Then you gradually desensitise your body to the sting by injecting it in and out of your skin a few times.

"You have to build it up slowly - you start with two, then four, then six. Ten to 14 was my average for each session.

"It's changed my life and my approach to life. It is manna from heaven."

Charity worker Sami, from Bristol, was treated twice a week during her course of the treatment.

She said: "There are three locations we used for the stings - above the shoulders, the middle back and then the lumbar area. It's all centred around your spine.

"It had an immediate impact because it has a kind of psychological, mental effect. I used to feelelatedforabouttwohours after the treatment."

BVT, or apitherapy, uses the stings of live bees in a bid to relieve symptoms of MS such as pain, loss of coordination and muscle weakness.

It is thought the body's own immune system works to reduce the swelling of the sting and in doing so it releases anti-inflammatory agents that reduce the pain of MS. The therapy is also used to treat arthritis, tendonitis, chronic pain and some skin conditions.

There is no clinical evidence to support BVT's use for MS or other medicinal purposes and bee stings can be extremely harmful to some people.

But it is used by 10,000 people in the US who believe it is beneficial.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society advise people to consult their GP if they are considering BVT.

According to the society's website, a small clinical trial evaluating BVT in MS was published in 2005.

The study involved 26 people who had bee venom administered three times per week for 24 weeks.

Researchers reported that bee sting therapy had no impact on the accumulation of new lesions or relapse rate. The study concluded that BVT had no effect on disability, fatigue or quality of life.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 5, 2010
Words:480
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