(BEIJING-AFP) - Patients in China are swarming to acupuncture clinics to be given bee stings to treat or ward off life-threatening illness, practitioners say.
More than 27,000 people have undergone the painful technique -- each session can involve dozens of punctures -- at Wang Menglin's clinic in Beijing, says the bee acupuncturist who makes his living from believers in the concept.
But except for trying to prevent allergic reactions to the stings themselves, there is no orthodox medical evidence that bee venom is effective against illness, and rationalist websites in the West describe so-called "apitherapy" as "quackery."
"We hold the bee, put it on a point on the body, hold its head, and pinch it until the sting needle emerges," Wang said at his facility on the outskirts of the capital.
The bee -- Wang said he uses an imported Italian variety -- dies when it stings.
"We've treated patients with dozens of diseases, from arthritis to cancer, all with positive results," said Wang.
Bee stings can be used to treat "most common diseases of the lower limbs," he added, and claimed they also work as a preventative measure. But sciencebasedmedicine.org, a US-based website, says that such claims of panaceas and cure-alls are "always a red flag for quackery".
"There is no scientific evidence to support its use," it says of "apitherapy," or treatment with bee products.
Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/bee-sting- ... z2cKgDyrci