March 30 is World Apitherapy Day. It is celebrated on this day because it’s the birthdate of one of the most important early promoters of happy bee stings – a chap named Filip Terč, whom you see glaring at you adjacent to this sentence. Terč was born in a remote village in western Bohemia but ended up in Maribor, Slovenia, where he worked as a physician. As a young man, he suffered badly from rheumatoid pain until, at age 22, he was accidentally stung by an aggressive pack of irritated honey bees. It changed his life. The pain was gone.
Terč, a diligent young doctor, began a serious study of the effects of BVT (bee venom therapy) and published the first clinical trials of the therapeutic effects of bee stings. His work led to the 1888 publication of “Report on the Peculiar Connection between Bee Stings and Rheumatism” in which he presented the results of his treatment of 680 patients with the collective application of 39,000 stings. 82% showed a complete cure, 15% had a partial recovery, while 3% had no relief from their rheumatoid condition. Although his work was published over a hundred years ago and his results have not been disputed, the medical profession has only recently begun to see the link between rheumatism, auto-immune dysfunctions, and some of the elements of bee venom. With immune disorders ranging from multiple sclerosis to allergies on the rise, the use of apitherapy treatments are finally becoming more accepted and generally more widely available. If you’d like to learn more, there is a great collection of materials at the Bees for Life: World Apitherapy Network website.