A small study shows that acupuncture with bee-venom therapy improved symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease destroys the neurotransmitter known as dopamine and damages nerves. When dopamine levels are low and nerve damage present the tremor and muscle control symptoms of Parkinson’s are present.
Acupuncture has a long history in Asia for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Some studies are suggesting that acupuncture may play a protective role on the nerve tissue that the disease targets. This could possibly slow the progress of the disease.
Researcher Seong-Uk Park, MD, is with the Stroke and Neurological Disorders Center, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Gangdong, Seoul, Korea. Doctor park says that bee venom acupuncture may help by increasing dopamine levels. Acupuncture may also enhance the effects of the Parkinson’s drug L-dopa and lessen the drug’s side effects.
The study was presented at the recent 18th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders
Bee venom acupuncture is the process of injecting bee venom under the skin at an acupuncture point. The idea is that the reaction generated by the venom will stimulate the acupuncture point longer and more strongly than acupuncture alone.
It is likely that the venom itself has a anti-inflammatory effect on the nerves. Although this is counter- intuitive, as we assume that venom creates an inflammatory response. However, the correction of the inflammation by the body seems to help surrounding tissues.
It has long been known that bee keepers who has many stings on their hands have a lower incidence of arthritis in their hands. A similar mechanism may possibly be affecting the nerves.
The study followed 35 patients with Parkinson’s disease who had been on a stable dose of medication for at least a month. The participants were randomly assigned to three groups. One group received acupuncture, another received bee-venom acupuncture, and the third group received neither. The treatment was administered twice a week for 8 weeks.
Both the bee-venom acupuncture or regular acupuncture groups had improvement in their symptoms. There were no serious side effects in either group. Those who received no treatment had no change in their symptoms.