Whenever I look back at the sequence of events that led me to today, I always feel awe and wonder.

It all started with my friend Carol, who has MS. She was diagnosed shortly after we both started nursing school. She decided nursing wasn’t for her, and went into a banking career. I continued on and became a cardiac nurse.

After trying many of the MS medications, she felt nothing was really helping. But what else was there? One day, unexpectedly, a fellow approached her with the name of a beekeeper who did a treatment for MS. Because of my medical background, she asked if I would accompany her.

I didn’t know that this would open a whole new life for me. We made arrangements to talk to the beekeeper; just to talk about it. We found ourselves sitting on a porch bench with five people who had come for “bee therapy.” I was quite nervous. There were bees flying around everywhere. Mr. R. kept a hive of bees on that very same porch, for easy access. He always said they were better than a burglar alarm.

I listened intently that day to the testimonials of those gathered for their “bee therapy.” At least three were prior beekeepers. They received “bee therapy” for arthritic knees, hands, and shoulders. One man was there for carpal tunnel, one young girl for MS. She was Mr. R’s miracle case. She started the bee therapy pretty early after being diagnosed with MS. She doesn’t even use a cane now. She taught aerobics for a while, takes care of her three small children, and holds down a job. Not only does she do the therapy, many years later, but now her sister does it too, having herself been diagnosed with MS two years ago.

After hearing the testimonials, observing the process, and doing some individual investigation, my friend Carol decided she would make a six-month commitment to the therapy. We started out three times a week. She would drive to my place, and then I would drive us to Mr. R’s for the therapy.

Eventually I became very interested in the whole concept. Mr. R. showed me the ropes, so to speak. A gentleman of almost 90, he pointed out certain sting points for arthritis, Bell’s palsy, MS, headaches, and asthma. I sat with him for many hours. I never tired of listening to his accrued knowledge, mixed with stories of the success of bee therapy and nature tales. I felt as though I had enrolled in a class of natural healing. It wasn’t just the bee therapy. I was learning a new respect for the weather, patience, and an acceptance of how little control we really have, the effects of the rain on the plant and insect world, the importance of pollination for our crops, the production and harvesting of honey, its richness and nutritive value, even some recipes. It was wholesome in philosophy, including mind, body, and spirit. It allowed me to look at our earth in a new respectful, appreciative, and protective way. The bees themselves taught me many lessons-such as that with persistence and focus, all is achievable. I learned about life inside the hive, bee communication, and bees’ specific roles. It was all so fascinating!

Then came the day when Mr. R. said that the student would become the teacher, and I started giving Carol her bee therapy. Before long, I was doing apitherapy on Mr. R’s people, and even Mr. R. himself.

After about a year or so of my becoming more involved, more intrigued with the bee girls, my husband drew my attention to some mail from the Center for Complementary Medicine, in Pittsburgh , that enclosed an application for an extensive course in Shiatsu, a healing acupressure massage. With hardly a second thought (so unlike my planning, thorough mind), we enrolled in a 260-hour committed certification program. I knew that this was just meant to be. not even realizing at the time that it would play a huge part in my future. My husband and I studied hard. Everything else was put on hold. We learned many acupuncture points and acupressure techniques. There was a full clinical experience, complete with written papers and case studies. I felt it almost equaled my nursing training.

Throughout it all, I continued to do the bee therapy on Carol, who was observing increased movement and energy, and a few others. But now I wanted to observe the bees in their daily living. I talked to the local beekeepers, of whom many are ministers, and met many wonderful men and women. I learned there was such a thing as an observation hive. I had one made special for our own little place, and had a hole cut in the wall for outside access. This allowed me to watch the bees in their natural setting. I observed many really interesting things, like the bee dance, the capping of honey, the queen’s entourage, the laying of eggs, the difference between drones, workers, and nurse bees. The books all came alive, not to mention the education for the neighbors, their children, and their children’s friends. The observation hive also permitted the bee therapy to continue during the winter.

Life is truly amazing! The Shiatsu instructor, an inspirational woman who lives her talk, recommended bee therapy to one of her clients, Miss M., who has fibromyalgia, depression, and arthritis. After more than a year of receiving bee therapy, Miss M. too is an avid advocate. Her energy has increased, and she is now living life with joy and enthusiasm.

As life moved on, I felt the need to have an outside hive also, to take off my own honey and use the hive products for health and healing. This has been a real adventure!

Apitherapy and its good results have spread by word of mouth. People have found my bees, and me, and have come from as far away as 300 miles, round trip.

At present, my belief in bee therapy has never been stronger. I am able to supply skeptics with a well-founded but basic rationale regarding the healing response of the bee therapy. My passion is education, so I have given many lectures to local groups, professionals, and laypersons. My mission is to promote the hive products and a more natural, gentle way of life. I have a lending library for those interested in researching this fascinating topic, and a few videos that I share gladly. My individualized therapy includes coaching on diet, hive products, and stress reduction. Included are take-home acupressure points to practice and use when needed between bee therapy sessions.

A session consists of a Shiatsu bodywork routine, which releases muscle tensions and works on stiff joints, followed by a gentle bee therapy session. With the bees placed on strategic acupuncture points, tendon bands, and spinal nerve areas, results appear more effective and specific.

I am now practicing as a hospice nurse part time. But two days a week I also spend time with wonderful, grateful people who have found relief, added energy, and increased movement from their bee therapy. Some have fibromyalgia, MS, chronic fatigue. Others have arthritis, carpal tunnel, depression, warts, or scars. Still others have asthma, menstrual problems, lower back pain, sinus problems, or bursitis.

My husband and I participate in a networking system of beekeepers. We help find apitherapists across the country to take care of people we know who are traveling, or relatives and friends of those we now treat who are too far away to come to Pennsylvania . Many beekeepers take off honey and use the pollen for allergies, but have been unaware of the healing properties of the honeybee sting.

After being shown some pertinent sting points for bursitis in his elbow, one such beekeeper was actually able to reverse his disability. He now stings not only himself but also his preacher and the preacher’s wife. He is truly a “Bee-liever.”

And why do I sing the praises of this natural bee therapy so highly? It’s because I bear witness to its healing effects. I now do the bee therapy on myself for carpal tunnel, migraine headaches, and back pain. My husband takes bee therapy for carpal tunnel and an arthritic knee. And Nezzie, our springer spaniel, gets bee therapy every now and then to decrease a non-malignant fatty cyst.

- Connie Frank, R.N.
January 07, 2009