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Table of Contents
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Join Nicole and Deb Elder of The Flippin Lyme Foundation as we discuss Live Bee Venom Therapy and its many uses.
What You’ll Learn
- What is Bee Venom Therapy (or BVT)?
- How does BVT work?
- Is BVT Safe?
- How BVT helps Lyme patients
- Can BVT be used on pets?
- How much is BVT?
- Can I do Bee Venom Therapy myself?
- What is a Bee Victory Garden?
Our guest today is Deb Elder with the Flippin Lyme Foundation. After being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, Deb fell very ill. Desperate to find a way to continue living, she found Live Bee Venom Therapy, which changed her life.
Resources & Links Mentioned
- Flippin Lyme on Instagram
- Flippin Lyme Facebook
- Flippin Lyme on YouTube
- BlogTalk Radio
- The Flippin Lyme Foundation website
- Email us! Ask@HeritageAcresMarket.com
*Denotes affiliate links
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Announcer: Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast, from HeriageAcresMarket.com, where we talk about all things backyard. Poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living and more. And now here's your host Nicole.
Nicole: Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host Nicole and today we're joined by Deb, who's the Executive Director of the Flippin Lyme Foundation, and today she's here to talk to us about bee venom therapy, what we can use it for, how we go about it, and everything that there is to know about bee venom therapy. So Deb, thank you so much for joining me today.
Deb: Oh Nicole, I'm absolutely delighted to spend some time with you and make a podcast for all your viewers, and to share that information about apitherapy. My journey with Lyme disease and then discovering bee venom has been one that lots of people started following early on, and just watching me made a believer in it. So I'm really excited about sharing the work with the foundation and what's happened for the good for tens of thousands of patients now all over the United States.
Nicole: Yeah, I know you've got a lot of exciting stuff going on in your foundation and you've really had quite the journey personally with your Lyme diagnosis. Can you kind of tell some more about you and how you got into this?
Deb: Well, I suffered with quote-unquote fibromyalgia for more than 30 years, went to well over 50 doctors. They put me on about 70 different pharmaceuticals during that time. I kept having to change jobs every couple of years to adapt to less physical work. And I moved up to Oregon about 20 years ago and in 2013 I went on a camping trip in August and got bit by mosquitoes here, which gave me babesiosis and relapsing fever and some new Borrelia species.
Deb: By December I was in bed for the next 16 months and just about killed me. I had cardiac events all of 2014, in and out of the hospital six times that year, got down 110 pounds and I'm six feet tall, so that was a lot of weight I lost. I started poking around looking at treatments and bee venom was doable for me.
Nicole: Wow. That was probably really a scary situation with ... I couldn't imagine trying to figure out what's wrong with you and not getting any good answers.
Deb: Well, and the answers came down to politics and corruption in medicine because we have zero medical doctors or nurse practitioners in the state of Oregon who will diagnose or treat a Lyme patient, and that's actually common state policy through the vast majority of the United States. So we, as a nation, have got to get together and become pathogen smart. We need to start teaching our kids in elementary school, and junior high, and high school, and college, all about pathogens and how to recognize them. We've got to totally revamp our medical system and try to get some of this profiteering out of the vaccine industry, which is inhibiting a good Lyme policy for our nation.
Nicole: Why do you think it is that they're hesitant or won't diagnose Lyme? I'm not sure. I don't understand that one.
Deb: Yeah, you and me too. I don't understand it because I mean just me personally, had they treated me when I was in my 20s, number one, I think I was born with Lyme. These pathogens are congenital, so they're passed from mother to child in the womb and they're expressed in breast milk. It's been found in vaginal and seminal fluids. It's not officially declared an STD, yet there's 113 Borrelia US species and another 200 internationally and we find exactly the same species and all of the family members.
Deb: So something's congenital there. My grandfather died of Alzheimer's and under Dr. Alan MacDonald's research, he was a pathologist for the Harvard Institute Brain Bank, and so he was looking at brains of Alzheimer's patients and he found 90% of them have Lyme Borrelia in them, so we know Alzheimer's and Lyme are connected. And then my mom, of course, got sick. I lost her. She died at age 52 and was sick for about five years on and off. Nobody could figure it out back then, and then of course my own history.
Deb: I think I'm a third generation Lyme-y. But if we look at our kids today they're probably fifth generation and those kids have more confluence of pathogens, thus they're sicker than any generation previously. And it's not just ticks that are transmitting these pathogens, it's fleas like on your dog and cat, it's mosquitoes, it's spiders, it's horseflies, chiggers, lice, any kind of biting insect are transmitting pathogens. So we all need to be prepared, our clothing and like I said, be pathogen smart.
Nicole: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you mentioned earlier that there was a lack of diagnosis for Lyme disease, so how would one get diagnosed then if that was something they suspected they might have?
Deb: Well, diagnosis of Lyme is really kind of interesting right now. People can send a blood test up to Rocky Mountain Labs and they have a culture test, which means they'll put it on slides and grow it over about a six week period. And that's a definitive test there, if it grows or it doesn't. And then IGeneX Labs out of Northern California, I believe they're in San Rafael area, are really a cutting edge lab that is doing some amazing testing.
Deb: They're also looking in that lab for PCR, which is segments of the DNA from the Borrelia. And the difficulty that we really have right now in testing is that Lyme doesn't live in the blood supply much. It tends to kind of do that when it wants to migrate into different body parts, but it doesn't make a living there. Most of the testing that's out there is looking for an antibody to a current infection, and a person can go through that initial cycle and not even know that they had a tick bite or an infection in there.
Deb: That happened and they kind of go through a couple, three months of not feeling normal. They didn't get treatment during that time, and then the illness starts to change life form and it gets into joints and gets coated in a slime-like coating called a biofilm. Then that's where we get chronic infections, chronic illness, is under these biofilm communities. And of course, once they're protected under that dome, the immune system can no longer see it. I call it the Harry Potter invisibility cloak because it's exactly the same scenario. Okay?
Deb: That's what makes Lyme really tough and chronic and very life-threatening progressive, so we need to be aware. Dr. Joseph Burrascano has a free three-page questionnaire that people can ask the Google for and see what their score is at the end. It pretty much runs through a list of symptoms, and anybody can go online and take a look at that and see what your score is and see if you're at risk. But generally if a person goes to their PCP or general practitioner, they're going to get a Lyme test that's going to more likely throw a false negative than to throw a correct positive, about 90% off. That's a lot of exclusion out there in the world.
Nicole: Is there any way to get definitive treatment other than to send the blood to the Rocky Mountain Lab? I think that's what you called it.
Deb: Rocky Mountain Lab and IGeneX for testing is the ones that I like. There are some other labs out there as well that are starting to kind of look at this, but it's not consistent from state to state at this point. Testing is hard. Some people will end up maybe considering a spinal tap to look for it in other fluids, but that's going show up in about 8% of the cases. So we really need to do a lot of work on testing right now because we're not testing. And then, of course, when you end up with Lyme, you have the potential for some of the co-infections, so that can be like Anaplasma, or Rocky Mountain Fever, and babesiosis, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, any of those illnesses, that's another 50 infections, those co-infections, and often those can be worse than the Lyme itself.
Nicole: Do you know by chance, and I don't know if this a figure that you would even know, but roughly what percentage of the population is believed to have Lyme disease?
Deb: That's a great question. We don't really know. I don't think we have any clean answers in terms of accurate surveys and patient counts. One of them latest numbers was 429,000 new cases a year. That came out last year, so it's probably closer to 500,000 now. But we've got a backlog of 40 years of patients who have been misdiagnosed that are still asymptomatic that haven't been treated. They're post-Lyme, they're called, but I think that half a million could be 5% of the true number of new patients a year. I mean this really is a pandemic right now.
Deb: We know that it's six to 12 times greater than HIV and new infections currently. And of course with climate change, we have more humidity in the environment and we're seeing an expansion of areas just in the dog population. I follow the veterinary reporting of Lyme in dogs because it's more politically clean, and we're in for a tsunami of pathogens in the United States. I mean most of the nation is going to turn yellow by 2024 and a third of it easily is going to be a bright red.
Nicole: Lyme is a virus, so I assume there's no treatment for it?
Deb: Actually Lyme is a bacterium. It's a spiral-shape of a bacterium. It's almost identical to syphilis in that it in its kind of adult form it turns into this coarse grew with a mouth on it and that'll bore through your muscle, and your nerve, and your bone, and your brain, and get everywhere throughout your body. But syphilis has 62 DNA strands. Lyme Borrelia has 124, so it's really smart, and it shape shifts and it changes. If you start to treat it, it'll jump into a cyst form and protect itself and then float around the body and take hold and start up a new colony. It's really amazing pathogen in a lot of ways, but it's a very serious one. It actually will edit your DNA and instill its own DNA into you. And so we cannot cure Lyme, we can only put it into remission.
Nicole: Can you tell me more about what bee venom therapy is in general then?
Deb: Well, generally what we're doing is we're taking live honeybees, and we grab them with a pair of tongs, and that's the hardest part of venom is catching a bee with a pair of tongs, but it's not hard. We apply them beginning kind of about an inch away from the spine, below the neck and above the waist. We start very slowly with patients. The very first thing we do, it's called a testing, where we'll put the stinger in and we'll leave it for five seconds, then we'll scrape it off so that we don't inject any more venom in. Then we sit and talk to the person for at least half an hour.
Deb: Now, this person has been prepared, so they've got an EpiPen in case they see true anaphalctic shock they can jab that in their thigh and inject themselves with epinephrin, and then immediately they're going to go to the emergency room and have that medication managed under a doctor's care. But more likely what they'll do is take a little children's liquid Benadryl, reduce the histamine response.
Deb: I've never had a bad response on a person yet for our testing. Then, if they're fine, I'll go ahead and do two full stings the first session. We'll do three sessions a week, progressively building up to at least 10 stings a session and then stay on the back moving up and down for about the first two to three months. The back is a large playing field, it's wide, and it allows for swelling and it's not a terrible place. I mean you don't want to start on your hand or your wrist because it'll swell up, kind of like a cul de sac, so if we could start on the back, it's a great place to begin.
Deb: And additionally, we like to put venom in the body near the nerves because the venom is a very fine molecule and it'll get into your nervous pathway and run, and it'll run to your organs, it'll run to your gut, it'll run up into your brain and your eyes, for example, anywhere you have a nervous system. This is part of why it's absolutely the most amazing treatment for neuropathy and nerve pain because we're putting venom right in the nervous system. So yeah, that's kind of how people begin.
Nicole: Other than Lyme, what all can bee venom be used to treat or to resolve symptoms of?
Deb: Ah, I mean it's been used to treat cancers. They've done people who sting the actual tumors themselves with bee venom can expect the tumors to recede to a remission point in about a six month time. We can treat HIV patients with it because it is antiviral. And I personally have used it to sting my chest and knock down common colds. I mean, you end up with a cold that's about 20% and you still have good energy level.
Deb: Then, of course, it's great for bacterial infections, which is our Lyme, and it's absolutely cape hanging super power is that it has an ability to poke holes in the biofilm community and collapse them. This is, by far, the most important aspect I think of venom. If you're taking antibiotics, if you're using herbals, if you're doing any kind of a treatment, the venom is going to allow that treatment to access the areas and work more effectively as well, so you can work with this in combination.
Deb: But as far as who can do it, the question is really probably bigger, "Who can't do it?" As far as condition, MS, it's been used for 20 years for arthritis, obviously for a lot of years because you can sting the joints and get pain relief. Venom also dissolves scar tissue in the body, which I've seen and experienced myself, and that opens up the energy pathways of the body. I mean this is kind of like the elixir of youth where you can reverse aging if you put enough venom in. There's so many uses for this. It's just amazing. Also, if you have a fracture or a break, a bone or a surgery, it will help to rebuild nice, clean, healthy, dense bone for you after those events.
Nicole: One thing that I'm assuming is a common question that you probably receive, but what about the safety of it? You hear so many people have an allergic reaction to bees. How can this be done safely to minimize the allergic reaction?
Deb: Typically what people ... There are two kinds of responses to a bee. You're going to get a histamine response, which is a localized redness and swelling and that's not what I consider a true allergy. For me, a true allergy is more like an anaphalctic response where you have difficulty breathing or you can't swallow. But if you're just getting that localized redness and swelling, that histamine response, that's actually what we're using to promote a healing crisis within the body. This is really typical of Lyme patients, that their immune system is shut down, that they're not responsive to pathogens and they're not fighting for the welfare of their body. That by having some venom in the system, we're initiating the adrenal glands to kick in and start producing cortisol.
Deb: Now, it needs vitamin C as a fuel for that, so we take 3000 milligrams a day, a thousand at breakfast, then lunch and dinner, so we're always topping off that vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C is water soluble, so you'll lose that in about an hour through urine. But if we have enough vitamin C on board, we can produce cortisol and the cortisol is a pain reliever that's actually 10 times stronger than fentanyl. It's common for our bee venom patients to have pain relief for up to two weeks just in their first bee session, so it's exceptional pain.
Deb: But that cortisol floods the area where the stinger is with your lymph system, which of course is going to dilute the chemical venom itself and flush that area, and then your body's going to send some hot blood from the heart to that area. The heat helps to break down the chemicals of the venom as well. And those two processes are part of the healing that we're capturing in what we're doing, so we want that healing crisis. We want that histamine response. But more than that, we want to control the histamine response, especially in the beginning, and what will happen is that person will ...
Deb: They'll go through a three to five week window where they itch and then, after that, it all stops and shuts down and the histamine responses get smaller and smaller. I can sting my forehead and sit and have lunch with you 30 minutes later and you'll never tell them I've been stung on my face, my body's used to it.
Nicole: And do you still take the vitamin C?
Deb: Absolutely. I take vitamin C every day.
Nicole: So that's not just for the beginners, that's kind of during the whole therapy?
Deb: Right. It is absolutely essential that you take vitamin C when you're in this process regularly, on sting days and on non-sting days. It's important. It's just true. There's been a lot of research on vitamin C and treating illnesses and cancers and that, that it's very beneficial. And often I hear people say, "Oh, I drink a glass of orange juice in the morning," and that concerns me a little bit because that has 84 milligrams of vitamin C and a great deal of sugar, and sugar is going to grow pathogens. I'd prefer to see people do an actual supplement of a thousand milligrams.
Nicole: One allergic reaction thing, probably just because I'm a paramedic I find pretty interesting, but I know that with beekeepers there's the risk of ... You can be a beekeeper for 20 years and get thousands of stings, but all of a sudden it's that one sting that does you in for the anaphylactic response. Is that something that the vitamin C and stuff can help mitigate as far as receiving the therapy? Or what's the difference I guess, in preventing that when you're intentionally stinging?
Deb: Right. Well, and I'm a beekeeper as well. I'm in the Oregon State Master Beekeeping program and I go out and work with my bees. I tend to tell the beekeepers, "Take your vitamin C before you play with bees because if you don't have an adequate vitamin C level, and not everybody takes vitamin C every day, they just rely on their diet, which their diet's never going to give them an adequate dosage of C. So you can certainly develop an anaphylactic shock at any time," which is why we have mandatory ... All of us have current EpiPen, period. I will not talk to or work with anybody who have that.
Deb: But that beekeeper that doesn't have vitamin C, that adrenal gland's going to reach up into the brain in that fatty tissue up there to extract the last bit of vitamin C in storage, and you will very likely see a shock response in that kind of a situation. Somebody who is deficient C. I mean I don't see it at all in my patient base. I've never seen a shock response in any of us. I've never even seen a terrible histamine response where somebody needed to take Benadryl.
Deb: I've had conversations with maybe 20 individuals in the last five years that mentioned that they sipped on some at one point, which is totally fine, you're going to kill the venom, but that's okay. You'll get more venom in your next session.
Nicole: So if somebody is actually diagnosed allergic to bees or if they had a previous anaphylactic response to bees, are they able to receive bee venom therapy?
Deb: Yes. Typically, what I'll tell people that we know for sure are shock response. Most people know their childhood and their history, if they've been stung by a bee or a wasp and how they responded. But even those people that are shock prone, they can go to an allergy physician and do, under supervision, injectable venom. And those doctors actually inject venom right into a person's back, kind of the same way we do. and start them off with a low dose and then build them up. And then under that supervision they can get up to a higher level and then they can come see me and then we would take that person and only do testings on them.
Deb: So people can go to a medical doctor allergist and get the dried venom that's in a formula and have that injected in. Then the doctor will continue to do injections in their back to a higher level and build up their immunity to the venom and desensitize them. Then they can come to me, or they can start on their own, and just do a series of testings only and continually build up to longer periods of time on your testings. You just want to watch the person's response and see how they're responding, at all times with all people, and base what your sting pattern is going to be on how the person feels and what they want to do. They're in charge, it's their body, so I tend to follow their lead.
Nicole: Generally speaking, it sounds like an allergic reaction to bee stings is probably a vitamin C deficiency. Is that safe to say?
Deb: I would agree. I think that the majority of people, unless you're regularly taking C at least one a day in the morning, you're probably going to be deficient. And how many children are taking vitamin C every day? Probably not all of them. I can remember being in the play yard and we had clover out in our grass, get a bee come up your pants and sting your leg. Well, you may not have enough vitamin C on hand.
Nicole: Well, I guess if even if people don't partake in the bee venom therapy, in the takeaway we all need to take vitamin C. It sounds good for about everybody.
Deb: I agree with that. I went to my naturopath when I was really sick in 2014 and she had me on IVs, and she was putting 50,000 milligrams of C in an IV. She said, "Within an hour, Deb, it will be gone. You'll pee it right out," so it's really difficult, I'm told, to overdose on vitamin C. I should probably have a disclaimer that I am not a medical doctor, I am a Lyme disease patient and I'm sharing my experience and the experience of the thousands of patients that I've helped. But I just don't see an unregulated histamine response in our people. We just don't see it.
Nicole: And to follow up with your disclosure, how long have you been working with bee venom therapy?
Deb: I started what, in '14? I guess we're five years now I've been stinging myself, and sharing my story with people, and probably I've had my little clinic running for at least three years now. I do a lot of coaching on the phone to people all over the nation, in fact, internationally. I get people from foreign countries, and with a lot of the new Google translate features, I can talk to people in just about any language and I'll provide them with resources.
Deb: Of course, we've got our video series and that doesn't matter what language you speak, you can kind of just follow along and watch those and copy it at home and give it a shot.
Nicole: And how many people have you helped in the last five years?
Deb: I've lost count. I've personally stung probably over a hundred. If I look at our blog talk radio show, we've had over 30,000 listens, which is pretty good. I've got four different YouTube channels. I need to combine everything. but I started doing seminars and videotaping those in 2015, and so there's a number of those available to watch. Then I do ongoing videos with the Flippin Lyme channel as well.
Nicole: So of the hundreds of patients that you've treated over the years, you've never had anybody that has had a negative reaction to the therapy?
Deb: No. And then what we'll do is we'll start people off, they'll come see me and we'll get them started. Maybe do one or two stings. Depends on who they are. I mean if they're somebody that has Lyme and they're really sick, I know their pathogen load is high, so I'm going to go very slow. Our patients that come to me that maybe just have pain or arthritis or something, they can really, surprisingly you can ramp those people up really quickly because they don't have the huge biofilms and other loads that we're seeing.
Deb: It's pretty individual and I approach it individual, individual and I never chase anybody with a bee and I never admonish anybody for not stinging enough, or too little or whatever. I'm kind of a coach. I'll listen to what's going on with them and we'll work up a plan. I generally try to get them to tell me like, "Pick one or two major components in the body that you want to work on, and if you try to pick more than that, you're going to kind of waste your time a little bit, and then work on one or two of those and continue to build up your total number stings."
Deb: Your stings are kind of like ammunition and so the higher level of stings that you can get to, the more work you can get done over a period of time. But the true limit of bee venom is the person's ability to detox the dead material that gets created. This is the thing that we have to really manage highly. This is more of a threat than a shock response by far. And that Herxheimer response can make you feel like you have the flu, or you're sick, you're kind of just backed up and you just feel lousy.
Deb: Sometimes it can change a person's demeanor and their aptitude and they'll certainly increase pain in a lot of their symptoms. My goal is to make sure that we come right up next to that limit, but not exceed it, and so we would just start off really slowly the first couple of months. And after about 60 days, this process ironically happens to our lymph system and, as a lot of people know about the heart and having the artery and the veins as a circulatory system. The lymph system is the third most important recirculation system of the body and the venom is so small that it'll get inside of those little passageways and in the glands and it'll clean them out like Roto-Rooter.
Deb: You'll end up with these little waxy protrusions on the surface of your skin. You'll notice them when you're taking a shower and they just slough off, and that's opening up all that area so that your whole lymph system starts flowing kind of wide open again and that enhances the patient's ability to detox. When we get kind of past that point, then we can start stepping up their stings even higher.
Nicole: So does that waxy discharge happen with everybody?
Deb: Generally, yes. That's just a natural part of the process of the body. But the older we get the more kind of build up of plaque and material on the sidewalls, and in crevices and places. Your veins are not going to be as strong in elastic at 60 as they are when you're 20, and the same as the rest of your body. It's a natural part of a process at the end of the day, but it's worse, I think, in our Lyme patients because they just really don't detox well. We've got so many pathogens on board that a lot of those systems just get overwhelmed and they get kind of full of sludge and gummed up. A lot of people will do hot saunas, or hot baths, or radiant heat kinds of therapy, and dry skin brushing.
Deb: Those are all really good for the lymph system. I tend to drink a lemon salt water mixture all day long myself for my detox, and I have a video on that. So a detox's is really job number one would be venom.
Nicole: The bee venom therapy in general, I guess it's one of those things, for lack of better terms, kind of like essential oils and other natural therapies. It's something that I assume is not actually FDA approved and that's why we don't actually hear physicians talking about it, or promoting it, or suggesting it?
Deb: Yeah, you're absolutely right. There is an existing ban by the FDA on live bee venom therapy and I haven't really looked up the findings. I've kind of searched it around a little bit. But what I'm told is, is that the FDA feels that the butt of a bee where her stinger protrudes out of is unhygienic. It's not clean. And so therefore they can't suggest or allow their medical community of doctors and nurses to encourage people to get stung.
Deb: Essentially, the venom stinger itself is a hypodermic needle. And at the very most what we'll see in a patient is a little small infection sometimes because the skin's not clean when they get stung, and that takes about five days to resolve. But we don't ever see any infections beyond that ever with this. Generally if you did, the venom would kill the infection, so it's very unlikely that somebody's going to see anything long-term from an unclean bee's bottom.
Nicole: Venom from a bee is unclean, but, and if I understand it correctly, they actually do have a pharmaceutically lab created venom alternative, I guess, that they're testing. Is that correct?
Deb: Yeah, the venom itself is clear and sterile. In fact, they've found that pesticides that get into bees don't actually get into the venom, so the venom is very pure. They're working right now, the FDA and a lot of the pharma people, on a artificial melatin. Now, if we look at the chemicals of the venom itself, there are about 75 components, but the majority of it, melatin runs, I think about 78% of venom total volume. That is a highly volatile gas, you can think of it.
Deb: In the venom collection process, typically a beekeeper will put this glass plate on there and it's got electrodes running across it and hook it to a car battery, and that's kind of a shock plate. And the honeybees will come back from their work and walk over the plate and it gives him a mild shock and the bees will sting the glass. But because the barbs or the stinger won't attach to glass, she retains her stinger and then she just walks into the hive.
Deb: At the end of the day, the beekeeper will come on with a razor blade and they'll scrape off that dried venom and collect it and send it into labs who will prepare it to send out to allergy doctors for injectable. Some people also use it in skincare products for wrinkles. It's very good for that. So there are uses for it.
Deb: But unfortunately, because of the volatile nature of melatin, we lose the vast majority of it in a dry situation. Melatin, by Rocky Mountain Labs again, did a test of Borrelia and its effect when it interacted with bee venom and it kills it, and it's the melatin proven to kill the Lyme. We want as much melatin as possible and that's why we really don't have a choice if we're treating chronic illness that we have to go with venom.
Nicole: Well, to me, that kind of shows some more concrete scientific proof that the therapies are actually effective, just that they want to make sure that you have a prescription and do it their way. But obviously there's the scientific backing on it as well, in addition to just the known history of it
Deb: Yeah. That's the gist of how venom really works. But there is an artificial melatin coming out. I think it's going to be probably in the next 18 months, so we'll see how that works on patients. We're doing three sting sessions a week, so we're constantly adding venom to our patients at their kitchen table. Any kind of a FDA product would need to be applied by a qualified provider, and I don't know if a person would be able to afford to go see them often enough for a similar treatment.
Nicole: So for those that might be a little more skeptical, I mean, it's not just some make believe thing, there's actual concrete evidence that this does work.
Deb: Well, they know it works. That's the thing. The US Navy has studied it, NIH has studied it. I mean there's ... If I go into my Facebook group, Apitherapy, to treat pathogens and I know Nicole's going to offer the links to all of this on the show, we have a file section there and it's that place that I have, I think there's about 25 or 30 different studies that have been accumulated. Every time I find one I put in there. Or the American Apitherapy Society also does a lot of studies and they'll share their work out there as well.
Nicole: Can bee venom therapy be used for pets or is it kind of isolated to being used on people?
Deb: Actually, venom can be used on pets. Absolutely. I encourage people to sting their whole family, which includes their pets. The interesting thing about animals is they actually produce their own vitamin C so we don't need to supplement them. I've stung my cat. In fact, you can see a video on Apitherapy for Cats on YouTube. Recently I stung a chicken that's got injuries and she recovered, and is still here in my living room actually, still recovering, but she's showing really huge advances in just a 24 hour period in her illness.
Deb: And then a friend of mine, I was going over and assisting and her daughter, who has really bad Lyme, and she looked at me and they had a dog named Ginger. She's a little boxer, about 60 pounds. Ginger had tumors. She was about seven and she was kind of listless, not wanting to do a lot, didn't feel good. And she looks at me and she says, "I think I want to sting Ginger, Deb," and I said, "I think you should," so we started stinting Ginger. I said, "Well, here's what I would do," and we did one over her hips and then one over her shoulders, we put some little snap barrettes and put those in her hair so we could find the stingers. We did two on her.
Deb: She called me up about a week later, she says, "Deb, Ginger is smiling, and playing with toys, and running around the yard. She's like a two-year-old dog again." When they get ready to sting their daughter they'll ask Ginger, "Do you want a bee?" And she'll come over and get really close like, "Okay, yeah. Do me." It's really just made a world of difference with her dog, Ginger. She's a happy dog now.
Nicole: I know we'd talked a little bit outside of the podcast and you mentioned using it for horses as well.
Deb: Yeah, I'm currently doing some volunteer work for Oregon Horse Rescue and I'm looking for a horse barn that wants to start doing some apitherapy. I'd like to hold some clinics where we can teach the horse owners how to sting their horses to keep them healthy. And, of course, the horses out here at Oregon Horse Rescue are going to be themselves because a lot of them are disabled and sanctuary horses, could use a little bit of help with their health needs as well.
Deb: I think eventually I'll get into stinging horses. I have a horse background and so it would fit right in to my passions, that's for sure. I'll keep everybody posted with videos as we go along with that. But I've read many reports and accounts where it has been used on horses, so there's no problem there.
Nicole: And are there any reasons that somebody should not partake in therapy?
Deb: There are a couple. Anybody who might have a mast cell activation situation, we want to be ultra cautious them because they don't metabolize the venom properly. And there's probably about six patients I've encountered who have had that. Often our Lyme community knows their bodies pretty well and they've done some DNA testing and they found some genetic mutations and other causatives concerned for them.
Deb: But other than that, no. I think just about anybody can and, in my mind should, be doing venom. I think at the end of the day, if I'd had been 20 years old and started this, I would not be disabled today and I would still be going to work and this is the pinnacle of my earnings right now at my age. I'm not out there doing it because I'm disabled. That's what 30 years of failure to treat has done for me.
Deb: I'd like to see this become kind of more of a tribal knowledge where everybody use it. I remember during World War II they had what they call the victory gardens, and there was not enough food to make food to send to the soldiers and feed America, so the government had a program where they wanted everybody to grow a garden. I want us to do a bee venom victory garden where all of us have a beehive in our backyard where we can grow our own medicine in our hive, in our bees, and venom is by far the most valuable product of a beehive, times a thousand in my mind.
Deb: But you're going to get honey with all its great natural enzymes and healing properties for wounds and that, and you're going to get propolis, which is a natural antibiotic, and you're going to get pollen that you can use for allergies and that. Everybody's going to be healthier as a nation if we could all adopt a venom therapy, kind of tribal knowledge again.
Deb: If we look at history, I mean, number one, this is not new. Apitherapy is Chinese medicine dating back more than 6,000 years. But if we look back, even here in Americas, it was very common up to the end of the 1800s for grandma to go out to her flowers and grab a bee and sting herself for arthritis. And then big pharma came along and said, "Oh grandma, we don't have to hurt you with a bee. Isn't that terrible to get stung? Let's go take a pill instead."
Nicole: What are some of the most common questions that you're asked for first time recipients, or those that just want to know more about venom in general?
Deb: Yeah, I mean I just would like people to kind of set down some of their fears that they learned. In fact, it was a couple of years ago with my local bee club, I went out to the children's rodeo, which the day before the whole bigger rodeo event happens, they have a little tiny event for the kids to come. I took out my little bee housing unit up there with some live bees in it. And this little girl and her mom and her brother came up and she was about six, and she came and she put her nose up against the acrylic and she goes, "I'm afraid of bees." I looked at her and I said, "Well, that's really great," and she kind of perked up and looked at me sideways. She was not looking for that response.
Deb: Her mom kind of cued in. I said, "Well, you learned to be afraid of bees, right?" She said, "Yeah, I sure did." I said, "Well, that tells me that you're smart enough to learn to not be afraid of them too," and that's true of all of us. We can choose our fears and I would like to encourage people to overcome their fears and open up themselves for some of the most remarkable healing journey that you'll ever go on.
Deb: 99% of the people who try this end up saying something very positive about it and I would say at least 85% continue to sting after I've gotten them started. My goal is to not sting people. My goal is to teach people to sting themselves because I want to teach you how to fish, so that you'll have this available to do for yourself for the rest of your life, and that you can teach your family and friends and loved ones.
Deb: I just want to see people grab onto this and start using it and adding it to their tool box. It's kind of like having band-aids, and some kind of ointment, and a first aid kit. This is an extension of that. But I will sting myself for the rest of my life. This is a cheap way for me to stay healthy and optimal in my life, as well as I'm going to go out and I'm going to kayak, and hike, and play with horses, and garden and be outside, so I'm going to have exposure in the environment.
Deb: If I were to get bit by a mosquito or whatever, I would grab some bees and start stinging around that area and flood it with venom, and try to knock down any pathogen right before it got to take hold. Now, if you're not actively stinging, you don't have that as an option. For me, it's kind of a smart idea that I have this is an option for me. I've already cleared all the hands, and arms, and feet, and head and everything with venom so I can sting myself anywhere on my body now.
Deb: I had a incident where my kitten bit my arm and pierced the skin and so I went and washed it off with a little soap and water and I grabbed about six bees and I just stung a circle all the way around that. I did that for about three days in a row just to kind of saturate that area with venom to prevent any illness, and it healed up just fine and I haven't had any new symptoms.
Nicole: What do you tell the skeptics that tell you that this is just a bunch of voodoo nonsense?
Deb: I feel like everybody's entitled to their opinion, even if they are wrong. I just think if you have not tried this or you haven't witnessed somebody who is starting it and using it, and you've seen the change in them firsthand, then you may not get this. And that's cool. I mean this might not be for every single person. I think the person that comes to this had a lot of medical people tell them some untruths about themselves and haven't validated their illness or how they're feeling. There's a lot of people out there that are not getting any kind of treatment at all.
Deb: We've got doctors with a Hippocratic Oath of do no harm, yet failure to treat is equal to harm, so we have to do something. We've got a lot of people that are sick, and suffering, and in trouble and in pain. I think I'd rather sting people than face an opiate crisis. I think I would rather sting people than deal with breast cancer and some of these other illnesses, I think I'd rather sting people and get them back to work 60%, 75% faster with venom in a healthier condition.
Deb: Just the sting process itself is going to build a much stronger immune system overall and prevent illness, especially in the elderly. I had this really amazing lady named Wilma that came to see me. She was 86-years-old and she had arthritis so bad she couldn't catch bees. And so I would sting her, and we were stinging her knuckles, and her shoulders and when she'd come see me, she'd walk in the door and she could lift her hands about a foot off of her hips maybe. She couldn't get them up over her head.
Deb: That lady would walk out of here. She had her hands up over her head like a cheerleader, I mean, so just in that amount of time she would get relief from her symptoms and pain, and she'd come see me about a week later and I'd seen her again. So she swore by bee venom. She begged me to keep stinging her, so I don't know. It's just I'm not here to placate the people that don't want to believe it. I'm here to coach and guide those who are interested or curious. Or if they have a loved one who just hasn't gotten answers that wants to try something, I look back on like my history of more than 30-35 years now, treating my body.
Deb: I look at all of Lyme patient friends and I don't see anything out there that's equitable to bee venom right now. I mean they're just isn't. We can look at some of the CRISPR DNA editing and some of that might be a potential to treat Lyme patients and maybe provide a true cure, but it's $20,000-$40,000 dollars at this point and 50% of the Lyme patients get worse. So we have a lot to learn there. The medical community has a lot of ground to cover.
Deb: People who don't want to get stung can certainly look at I-LABS. They're a good organization of MDs that are treating and they're using antibiotics, very high dose antibiotics and herbals in combinations therapies. I know Dr. Richard Horowitz has a book out on how to get better. That's some of the most current I-LABS treatment guidelines, so if you don't want to get stung by a bee, you might consult with some of that medium.
Deb: But we get people that call me up and they've been watching me for four years, and they've spent $40,000 since I met them at a rally on this, that, and the other, and traveling doctor to doctor, and they're not any better. And we put them on bee venom and three months later they call me and they say, "You know, Deb. I'm better in this last three months than I am in the last five years," and then there's no pinnacle to where you stop getting better.
Deb: You can do more and more stings over time and really treat things. There's a lot yet to be learned and explored with venom. They call me the Mikey of bee venom because I'll try anything. I've done daily stinging for 30 days and I got about 30% better during that time, so I think there's a lot to be learned yet.
Nicole: So if somebody says, "Okay, this all sounds great and I have," whatever ailments that they might have, "And I want to start venom therapy. I want to give it a go, I want to try it." What's step one? How does somebody get started?
Deb: The first thing they'd want to do is shoot me an email, and you're going to share the link to that, and I will send them our written protocol so they can read verbatim, step-by-step of what all the steps are. I have all the links to our radio show, we have a blog talk radio show with 11 two-hour episodes on apitherapy. Then we have our YouTube channel with videos, and our Facebook groups as well. One of the blog talk radio shows we read the protocol verbatim, and a lot of our patients have a hard time reading and so we did that intentionally knowing that, for those who have a hard time with brain fog or cognitive issues, would be able to listen to that or download another device and listen to it anywhere. And that'll help them to get set up.
Deb: It runs about $100 to buy a little bee housing unit and some tongs to get started. You'll need some liquid Benadryl, a supply of vitamin C and, of course, you've already met with your doctor, you've gotten a prescription for your EpiPen, you've been in the pharmacy and filled it, and it is always on the table present in all of your sting sessions.
Deb: We want to make sure the person has a charged cell phone before each session available, so if they need help they can get that. And then, after that, there's a couple of suppliers that will mail bees to people in the mail, one in North Carolina, the Ferris', and then in Redding, California, we have the Allens, and both of them will ship these through the mail to patients, so they do not have to have a beehive. That cost runs about $40 to $60 a month, so it's very inexpensive. People will get a shipment about every two weeks of bees and then just keep them on their kitchen table, take them out and sting when they're ready to do a session.
Nicole: So the sting sites, is that when you said protocol, is that one in the same?
Deb: Right. Your sting sites can vary. Like I said, initially we'll start below the neck and above the waist in that large field of the body along the back. Yeah. We'll send the venom up and down the spine. If a person has shoulder pain for example, we can start treating that right away because that's on the main part of their torso. If they have abdominal pain or Crohn's disease or something like that that's affecting their GI system, we can start stinging their abdomen right away and send venom right into their gut.
Deb: So just from the beginning we can start doing treatments on people and getting venom into some of the areas that they need some help, that pretty much that first two months is just building up to more stings. Once we get up to about three months into this, we'll begin to maybe work down the legs. At that point we would start on the outside of the leg, near the hip bone, and about every inch or two in progressive sessions, we'll continue to sting down until we get down to the foot.
Deb: Then we can do the same thing up in the arm where we'd begin up near the collarbone to start at the point of the shoulder. Then start stinging down the arm until we get down to the hand. And that helps to kind of clear that area, let it get used to venom. Once you clear that area, then you can start to do more intensive treatment. Perhaps if somebody had it an elbow injury and they wanted to sting that, then we would start at that shoulder and work our way down and then we could directly treat that injury at the elbow for them.
Nicole: Regardless of what ailment they're looking to treat, you start the process the same?
Deb: Exactly right. Because we have to make sure that we can manage that histamine response from the beginning. We have to make sure the person can detox, and then we have to build up enough stings to where we have enough ammunition to use. Then we can start moving around the body and clearing the extremities. The neck and the base of the neck and the hips are two areas that seem to have a high viral loads, and so we tend to take a little time and work in that area and clear that area before we move on.
Deb: Sometimes people can kick up. By kick up, I mean kind of stimulate a pathogen to want to flee the area when you start to sting it, because the pathogens know that this venom is deadly to them and so sometimes they'll try to run and you'll see some funky little symptoms in people until they catch up with it and kill the colony.
Nicole: And when you say clear the area, do you mean flushing that area of whatever bad stuff is in there?
Deb: Well, we're introducing a small amount of venom at a time and giving the body a chance to have that histamine response. Now typically, if you start and you sting a new area, you're going to get a histamine response. Now, if we seen what we called a wheal, it's W-H-E-A-L, which is a white, kind of inner area of the sting, some of those sometimes get about the size of a quarter. If we see that big wheal like that, then we know that there's a lot of heavy pathogens right in that area. So I'll tell people like, "Just slow down, don't keep moving around. Stay in that area and keep hitting it. And you want to kind of just, in that general area, continue to sting until you stop getting a response and then you're ready to kind of move on."
Deb: But you want, you want your body to kind of just settle down into this. You don't really want it to be excited and throwing heavy histamine responses overall. I mean it's going to happen, but if you get that little challenge and then just slow down, do a few sessions there, give it time to kind of relax into the venom, and then you can continue moving down towards your ankle, for example.
Deb: I used to have really bad neuropathy in my right leg, and I found that I would sleep on the side of the bed and kind of dangle it off the edge of the bed because that's the only way it felt good. And I thought, "I'm just going to ..." Nobody could give me any good information on how to treat it. And I thought, "I'm just going to saturate my legs with venom," and I built it up to 46 stings per session, three sessions a week. I got to where I was doing 12 on each of my legs from just above my ankle, below the knee. I would hit that nerve there, breaks off into four parts and I would hit those nerves on each of those quadrants. And I did that for six weeks and I just flushed it with venom, and I don't have any more neuropathy pain now. It's just gone.
Deb: This stuff works exceptionally well. And when I did that, probably three-and-a-half years ago, so I have not really gone back and needed to sting it since.
Nicole: You don't necessarily, when you're getting started, you're not going to be stinging yourself, 40-50 times every single day or whatever right off the bat. What's the average sting?
Deb: People start at one or two and then, each session, or maybe once a week, they'll add two stings and try to up to 10 or 16 is a good number to get started. But I know people that do over a hundred in a session, that are a little more advanced people. They've just built up over time and they just continue to branch out and try other areas.
Deb: I honestly believe that the really super sick or really chronically sick, those people, they have a lot of biofilm communities. I mean, if you think of a city like New York City and there are big skyscrapers that might have millions of people versus a small rural community, which is homes. Well that's what I think about the pathogens before and after. Before it looks like New York City, and after bee venom it looks like a residential neighborhood.
Deb: The pathogens are still going to be there, but they're going to be a lot smaller and a lot fewer, and they're probably going to be holed up someplace because they're afraid of the venom in a cyst form. So it kind of stabilizes them.
Nicole: Do the number of stings and/or number of sessions depend on what you're treating?
Deb: Yes it can. I've done some research on this and I kind of have my own theory about some of the sting sessions and how we should change those. And I kind of begin with like, "What is the replication rate of the pathogen?" And if we look at Borrelia, they're replicating about every 20 to 30 hours. So if we're stinging every other day, we might not have enough venom in our system to actually interrupt that cycle, which is what we want to do.
Deb: Where other pathogens might have a 72 hour time, so I think we need to do a little more research on that. And then speaking of research, my non-profit this year, we're trying to put together a brand new bee venom survey platform. In this I will sit down and write up questions and send a questionnaire to our people who are stinging every three months, and we're going to ask them to respond back to us, and we're going to accumulate data. I don't think this has ever been done in the world, but it's a project that I'm trying to pull together this season for us.
Deb: People can go to a FlippinLyme.com right now and sign up for that so that as soon as it's ready, we will notify you. And if you are somebody that wants to help us to get that going, we're accepting donations right now so we can put that expansion onto the website. All the data will get reported quarterly to the public, so we're not going to keep that for ourselves. We're going to let you see it too.
Deb: But we need to get some solid information about what people's sting patterns are, what their pathogens are, their co-infections, how they're feeling, what other treatments that they might be doing at the same time, and get our arms around what's actually working for Lyme patients. I kind of know in my head already what it is, but I think a formal study like that is going to show it better.
Nicole: And in addition to your survey, if I understand correctly, you also have the possibility of a documentary coming out as well?
Deb: Right. Thanks for the reminder. We have been approached to do a one hour documentary, which will be a six-part series overall, but this one segment will be on bee venom therapy. What we're planning to do is I'm in the process right now of finding some Lyme patients who have never tried bee venom, who are ready to start right now, and we're screening them and we're going to make a selection pretty soon. That person we're going to fly out to Eugene here to stay at my house. I offer what I call the bee venom camp and normally we charge $100 for that. People can come here and I'll feed them a good wholesome foods, usually from my garden, and I'll teach them hands on about bee venom therapy over a day, or a day-and-a-half. Then they can fly home and then we'll follow them for a little while.
Deb: They'll come back here for another session, and then we'll let them go home and then we'll follow up at their house while they're self-stinging. I'm also going to film the making of the documentary behind the scenes. We're only going to put one person in the documentary. I'm concerned about the other people who didn't get qualified for that, so I've extended to all of them my time free to help them get set up right now, and then the bee venom camp for free. They'll need to fly or get themselves here to my house at their own expense, and then I'll offer them free ongoing coaching afterwards because I don't really want to leave anybody behind in this project.
Deb: Then those individuals will get included in the how the documentary was made film, so it's going to be a really big project overall. I'm really excited about this. This is going to be neat.
Nicole: Yeah, that sounds really exciting. How fun.
Deb: I've been listening to people's stories and what's going on with them. I've got a spreadsheet so I know what their ailments are and what their history is. And the stories of these people are absolutely amazing and all too familiar with what we're seeing in the Lyme community. That these people are sick, they're pain-ridden, they're bedridden, they're kind of in a slow death spiral in a way that, for a lot of us, takes 20 to 30 years. My goal, primarily, is just to stand up those people and let them engage in life and start puttering around the house, and maybe do a little cooking, or shopping, or gardening in six weeks. At three weeks they're ready to go out to the grocery store, to walk the dog or shoot a few baskets. And if I can do that little bit for our community, then I can die happy woman.
Nicole: I think that's wonderful.
Deb: And ironically, I can repeat that time and time again. I mean, I get very good success rate. It's really fun to watch people get into this and they have 500 questions in the beginning. I do the blog talk radio show series because it'll answer your first 300. Then people do call me up and try to find out what their walls are and their barriers, and I'll coach them through it. I'll typically stay on with people for four to six months if they need coaching on an ongoing basis. I just kind of take it case by case.
Nicole: I Imagine you stay pretty busy then?
Deb: I do stay busy and, of course, I have some local events here and then I grow my own poultries, meat birds and turkeys and eggs that are all fresh, and maintain a garden, and pick fruit in the fall and make hooch, so I stay busy.
Nicole: Well that's good.
Deb: Yeah. But I try to live a pretty clean life where I know what I'm eating. I think diet for anybody who doesn't feel well is absolutely essential. I mean, you just have to make a choice that right here, right now you're not going to eat junk food, you're not going to each packaged food, that you're going to get your cast iron skillet out and you're going to cook some fresh organic veggies for yourself. I tried to tell people, "Eat four cups of veggies a day. Try to stick with eating poultry as your main meats, if you're eating meats and that. Try to avoid dairy."
Deb: Then diet is just so critically important. Drink a lemon salt water during the day to help detox your system and flush your system out and keep it clean. That'll make you feel better. Those are foundational things that just about anybody can do, no matter what illness they have. It's the kind of homework that I think every patient should be doing.
Nicole: Yeah, I know. I've talked about diet on some previous podcasts, but I personally have experience with that. If you don't feed your body right, then it does not run properly at all.
Deb: That's exactly right. Well and I tell people, "If you're not going to go pee every hour and if you don't go poop two to four times a day, then you're not eating right." Because that's all part of how you detox your system and keep things flowing. If you have sickness and illness you have to be able to move that dead material out when your body helps to overcome it. So it's really important and I think the older you get, the more important that is as well.
Nicole: Do you have any other advice for people that are chronically ill in addition to diets and stuff? Anything else that you found to be effective or helpful suggestions?
Deb: I mean, I think what we're seeing is vastly the majority of women patients are being affected by these pathogens, ironically, out of seven patients, six of them are women. I kind of think what's happening is women end up about 45 to 52, their immunity drops and they might've been somewhat healthy, kind of skipping along right before that, but they hit a wall about that age and a lot of us kind of collapse. We get youngsters in their 20s are like, "Well, I don't worry about that. I can eat what I want," but it does catch up to you.
Deb: I just think that you have one vessel in your life and that's your body, and so you want to kind of try to keep it healthy and functional. We do a tune-up on our car, there's no reason we can't do a tune-up on our body and do some sessions of bee venom and just sustain our health. But you can use it for a lot of things. I cut myself a couple of years ago, I had a gash. I should have went for stitches. It was about two-and-a-half inches long on my leg, and I cut it with one of my saws by accident. You know, here's Mikey with the bee venom. I decided that my treatment was going to be four bee stings in a bandage covered in honey. And so I did that and three days it was healed. It was absolutely stunning to see a big wound like that with just honey and some venom. It just closed right up.
Deb: And I want to tell you too about my last spinal fusion because I suffer from degenerative disc disease. That's the long-term effects of the failure to treat policy for a Lyme-y. I had spinal stenosis and so I had a fusion in '07, so this, three years ago on Thanksgiving, they went in and they took out the hardware from the first fusion. They fused the disc above it, and then they went in my left hip and got marrow, which they didn't do before, and then they moved my intestines around and went through the front of me to clean off the stenosis too.
Deb: In my first fusion I borrowed my neighbor's walker and it took me six weeks before I could get from my front door to the mailbox, which is not far. It's 50 paces, maybe. This one I borrowed a walker again, but I only needed it for two weeks until I got to that mailbox. What I had to prepare, is all summer long, for about three months, I did about 30 bee stings to my lumbar area. So I just saturated that area with venom three days a week for about three months. My thought was to just mop up any pathogens in there, to dissolve out scar tissue, to prepare the area for the upcoming trauma.
Deb: The morning of the fifth day in the hospital, I looked at my nurse, I said, "I'm going home today." She goes, "Well, you haven't been released yet." I said, "You don't understand. I'm going home today because I feel great." We actually snuck my little bees in their box into my hospital room and I go in the bathroom and lock the door and sting myself in the hospital because I knew it would help me to detox all the anesthesia, and the chemicals and drugs that they had infused in me.
Deb: Then, when I got home, I was stinging all around the suture sites to help them to heal up and to heal. Well, I went, at 86 days I had an appointment to see my neurosurgeon. So I went in for an x-ray and went upstairs and saw him. He came in and his eyeballs were huge. His eyebrows were raised up and he had his mouth open. He goes, "Lady, I've been a neurosurgeon for 23 years. I've never seen this." He said, "In 86 days you're 100% fused and that should take 12 months to heal. I don't know what you're doing, but you need to keep doing it."
Deb: He showed me the film and there's this nice dense bone structure that's present and he says, "You're done." I did not need any physical therapy. It was amazing how fast I bounced back.
Nicole: So it's not necessarily for those with huge, scary chronic issues. It can be used for everybody.
Deb: I mean, it's kind of a Swiss army knife. You can think about all the different ways that you can use it. Probably the only real exclusion, well, where I don't get involved, I'll say because of my position with the foundation, is I don't sting children. The reason is is because in some areas, unfortunately, child welfare agencies might view bee venom as a form of abuse. But I do know of parents who are stinging their minor children. Those kids need to be able to use an EpiPen. There are children EpiPens available. That's a very personal decision. If people decide that that's what they want to go with, we don't have a protocol for children and I doubt that we'll develop one here at the foundation just because of the liabilities associated with it.
Deb: But on the other side of that, I'm not a parent, but if I was one, I would personally be using it myself, I would find a way. But there are a few more risks with children and that's something that the parents need to work on themselves. But there's probably not going to be a lot of support for minors being stung out there.
Nicole: Yeah, I can see that can be a-
Deb: Otherwise, I think that just about anybody ought to seriously consider adding it to their repertoire. I have a lady that's coming to see me regularly right now and she's not a Lyme patient, she's just got aches and pains and some injuries, and so we've started working on those. She took off to Germany for three-and-a-half weeks and the day after she got home she says, "Deb, I'm ready to come see you again. I felt so good on that trip that I wasn't the one that had any aches and pains," that they were waiting up for everybody else because she felt so good. She was just out there going every day. So she got to take a great advantage of our opportunity on our trip because she didn't hurt, but she continues to come and see me and get treatment
Nicole: How long does the venom therapy last? You mentioned that she was out of the country, I guess for several weeks. Is it something that that people necessarily need to do several times a week or is it something that can be done-
Deb: Well, it depends on what their objectives are. Our Lyme patients, we want them on the protocol for two to three years, and that's because they've got a lot of built up pathogens, and high levels of colonies in joints and things like that. So we want them to treat for two to three years. I personally went about 26 months and I think I ended before the three years because I had gone so high on my stings that I had a total of probably 15,000 stings at that point. I had a lot of venom in me and I felt really great. I took about a year off because, in part, I wanted to find out if we took time off, how would we feel? It's part of my exploring this.
Deb: I think during that year I stung myself maybe five times for incidents, cuts and scrapes and colds and stuff, but otherwise I didn't use it for that year and I felt really terrific. Now, they say that the venom stays in your body for 48 hours. I don't believe that all of those 75 components of venom last that long. In fact, I tend to think that it's probably more in the line of about 18 hours, but it depends on which component you're talking about.
Deb: Apimen is the second most prevalent of venom and I think it's around 14 or 17%. It's a small enough molecule that it actually passes through the blood-brain barrier. We know Borrelia loves to live in the brain in that fatty area. People have visual floaters, or brain fog and cognitive problems, maybe TMJ, trigeminal neuralgia, dental problems, especially with their gums. Once a person's been stinging and have cleared their body, we can start working up their neck and and getting into head stings.
Deb: Head stings are absolutely amazing. A lot of Lyme patients have light sensitivity or they have floaters, those little white floaty things in their eye, which is typically Borrelia in the eye. They say your optometrist can see those if they're properly trained. But venom can get into those nerves and help to kill the pathogens in those real sensitive areas where there's very few treatments that can get into the brain. I don't know. That's just another reason to love venom in my book.
Nicole: Is there anywhere that you can't sting? I mean obviously you wouldn't want to sting your eyeballs, and you probably wouldn't want to sting your genitals, I wouldn't imagine, but short of that is there anywhere that is off-limits?
Deb: You're right. There are some places that we shouldn't ever sting. We don't want to sting breast tissue. We don't want to sting any boy bits and you're right, you don't want to sting an eyeball. We want to avoid, if we're working in the groin or around the neck, any arteries and veins that we might hit and potentially cause a rupture, a subcu bleed. You can sting within about a half an inch of an artery or a vein and not have a problem, but you don't really want to sting directly on them.
Deb: Usually I'll take a fingertip if I'm working on somebody around their neck and kind of feel for a pulse and make sure I don't feel anything before I'll apply a stinger to that area. And then the very crown of the head is some people in the bee venom world believe that we should not sting that because it's part of the chakra energy area. And so we should not sting there.
Deb: Bee venom tends to follow a lot of the same principles, practices and placement as is done in acupuncture. So we're going to use some of those same acupuncture sites on the body and some of the same sting patterns. We can run down the lines of the body and treat all of the lines of the body at once in sting sessions. Those are really amazing to do. We leave that stinger in for 20 minutes so that we extract all the venom, so you're getting kind of an acupuncture treatment plus the chemical of the venom in this. So you're getting both, which kind of makes it a unique treatment as well.
Nicole: More people are aware of it and more accepting of its benefits.
Deb: Yeah, I've done acupuncture and it really helped me out quite a bit. It got to a point for me where the cost was prohibitive because I wasn't working anymore. So to be able to go back and have a home method of getting that same pressure point responses is kind of neat. We actually encourage people that are starting to set up a journal so that they're monitoring what they're sting patterns are, how many stings they're doing, to what areas, and then keep some notes on how they feel for a couple of days afterwards and what their body's response was.
Deb: It helps me in coaching, but it also helps them to identify problem areas in their body and how their body responds so that they can strategize better for their future sessions. The palm of the hand is a place too that I have stung it, and it is probably the most painful place on the body to sting. You can sting the hand but, for some reason, the center of the palm is a place that is very painful.
Nicole: Oh, my gosh. I think you have melted my brain.
Deb: That's the thing that happens when we start talking about bee venom is that we can get so deep and so crazy into this, and we look at some ... I mean, there's 60 benefits of venom out there and you can talk about any one of them for an hour. You could talk about sting sessions and strategies and how to sting in certain instances, and it's kind of hard to document all of that in a way. I really, I mean, when people are first start they're trying to sting their back in the mirror and they're worried, are they getting an inch off the spine kind of thing? I tell them, "You know what? It doesn't matter. Just put some venom in your body and get started."
Deb: Once you get past that first six months and you're kind of liberated, you can go out there and poke around and try things and do things and you kind of can't do it wrong at that point. I mean, we do always want to stay safe and having an EpiPen around. But they say that you can get a shock response at any time, even me at this point, I could develop that, but I don't see that happening. But if it happens, I'll deal with it. I'm prepared, but I don't know. Our motto is, "Get your sting on, baby," for a reason. Just try it, give it a shot.
Deb: Sometimes patients don't have $100 to get set up and they're like, "Well, that's a big obstacle for me," and I say, "Well, talk to your friends and family. See if you can raise it and get some help." And I'll tell them, I'll be like, "If you try this and it doesn't work for you for three months, I'll buy your equipment back from you," And I never get anybody call me trying to sell equipment. So I know they're trying it and they're sticking with it because I'll find somebody that will buy it from me. I'll rehome it. They don't do that. They held onto it.
Deb: This lady, she went over on vacation for three-and-a-half weeks or so and she came back, and so she left here doing, I think, 16 stings a session. When she came back I brought her back in at 10. Like I said, she's not a Lyme patient. We watched her and then, in her next session, we went right up to 14 and I took her, the session after that, up to 20. She just kind of jumped right back into it.
Deb: I've done that myself, too. But typically, you want to kind of just gradually ease your way into it. It's better to take longer and build up than to do too much and feel like you're a little over-medicated, so to speak. But even if you were a little over-medicated with venom, you could take a little Benadryl and reduce it down and you'd be fine. But most of the time it's a detoxing Herx issue that we're having with patients. That's probably 90% of our challenge with venom is the detox because the stuff is so darn effective at killing, so you have to be careful where you spread that around because it's going to work.
Deb: People say, "Well, but it hurts to get stung." Yes. You're going to have sting pain. That sting pain is going to last three to five minutes and then it's pretty much going to be a nice warm feeling, a little topical soreness. Then you're going to have weeks and weeks of pain relief and reduced symptoms overall. Because, once again, it's going in and killing your bacteria, your parasites, and a lot of your viral loads. So the process of building a stronger immune system just by having a stronger immune system for the pathogens that it might not be effective against, the stronger immune system is going to help on those as well.
Deb: I don't know if you've ever watched that movie Buck, the guy that trains horses, but he always says, "What's the downside to that?" I don't think there's a downside to a stronger immune system, and just about everybody with venom gets that.
Nicole: Yeah. I know sometimes, every spring, you start getting your stings when you start working your hives. And yeah, I've started to pay attention to how ... Because before, my first couple of years of beekeeping, it was just, "Ouch, that hurt. Well, that sucks." Now I've noticed you do feel different, and that's just on a small scale. So I can imagine that on a larger scale it can really change a lot.
Deb: Right. Well there is a big difference between angry venom and our controlled bee venom because if you're around a hive and the hive is mad because you're handling the queen, her brood kind of a situation. Once they get fired up, boy, they're mad just to be mad, and that mad venom, I think it's more painful. I really do.
Deb: Additionally, when we have a bee in the tongs before we ... We'll apply that to the skin and then we'll kind of push her bottom up against the skin a little bit to help get that stinger to inject in the skin a little faster before we pull it away. And I think that the stinger itself has actually two barbs, and the right side will kind of walk down and hook, then the left side will walk down and hook, and once that venom sack detached, it'll continue to walk into the skin about almost a quarter of an inch for that first half of a minute until that venom sac is just up tight to the skin.
Deb: Then there's actually the venom sac has its own muscle group and nervous system, and it'll sit there and continue to pump for about five minutes venom continuously. That little period right there, that walking in until that venom sac gets tight, I think that's where the sting pain mostly comes from. To me it's worth it, the sting pain. I visualize it as the bugs screaming as they die, so I try to take it and turn it into a positive creative visualization that my pathogens are screaming because they've got this ultra-effective venom coming to take them out and to restore my body to health. And so I embrace the pain that way.
Nicole: I have scoliosis and I've always had back and hip pain and stuff, and last week I was out and I had a cinderblock next to my hives that I needed to grab it. I'd jus set out some splits that had done. They didn't like that I was there and I had one bounce off my forehead and I turned around just in time for one to sting me in the butt, which I thought was kind of hilarious. But I told my husband, I said, "Well ..." I ended up getting like three in about an area the size of a quarter. I said, "Well, I appreciate that they stung me on the hip because my hips have been hurting, but they stung me on the wrong side."
Deb: Great. I kind of think that I want to do a little trial where we maybe have kind of a net or something with some bees in it, and a person in their underwear could get in there and find out. I kind of think that the bees might have the ability to smell where somebody needs treatment and they sting them there. That's a suspicion of mine because I'm sure you know they smell incredibly well, they operate off of pheromones to control the hive and the colony in general, but I think they can sense where we need help.
Nicole: I kind of feel that way too. I mean, if you want them to sting you nicely. I don't know that they really care when they're just out for vengeance, but ...
Deb: Right, yeah. Yeah, if they're out for vengeance they really just want to sting your eyeballs and your face. That's typically, when they're really mad, that's where they're going.
Nicole: Yes, that is true.
Deb: Usually it's better just to walk away from that for a while and come back and let them settle down.
Nicole: Yeah, I've experienced that. It's not fun. Well, I had a hole in my veil and then I got stung on the face, and then I got a couple of days off work out of the deal.
Deb: Well, I tell you the first time I had worked up my neck. Essentially, on the neck what we'll do is we'll go back to testing of the neck and we'll do testings up to the base of the head. Then we'll go back to the base and we'll do full sting, then we'll come back to the base and we'll do two full stings and work up. We kind of clear it. We take a lot of time to clear the neck. Then we can go into the head.
Deb: I had done all that and I started on my head and I thought, "Well, where do I want to sting first?" I chose the little peak over my eyebrows because it's an acupuncture meridian point. I had floaters in my eyes, and light sensitivity, and TMJ, and grinding my teeth at night. I had a night guard I had to have. I mean I had jaw muscles like a pit bull from sleep. So I stung right over that peak of the eyebrow and that venom ran right into my forehead, down the bridge of my nose and under my eyes. My eyes swole about 30% shut and I had big puffy cheeks. But I'll tell you what, I woke up the next morning and I could smell about four times better than any time in my life and my floaters were gone.
Deb: Then I waited for about a week and I did ... I came over and I hit that trigeminal nerve. Now that's a big nerve that loops over your ear and the top branch runs into your optic nerve, and then the bottom two serve to your upper jaw and teeth and your lower jaw and teeth. And so if you hit that trigeminal, you can kind of treat a lot of areas by sending venom through that nervous system. I did that and I always tell people like, "Call me before you want to do heads things and let me talk you through the details of it."
Deb: But the heads things are different because you have this little three-eights of an inch skin and very little muscle that covers your skull, so the venom tends to kind of spread out over it, like if you're pouring paint on a tennis ball. It just spreads and it's like you get this big warm hand that just spreads the venom out over you and you kind of almost wait for the heavens to open up and the angels to sing because it has a real euphoric experience to it.
Deb: I hear this a lot from people who's sting regularly that they crave it, and their body likes it, and so they really want to keep going to it. I think like when I crave vegetables it's because I'm maybe deficient in something, but it's not uncommon for people to say that if they took a week off or something that they're really craving some venom. I know exactly what they mean. Your body starts to recognize it and ask for it.
Nicole: is it difficult to find the nerves that you're looking for?
Deb: Not really. You can ask the Google for nerve charts. I have a couple that I keep on hand. When I started, what I did was I went online and I looked up nerve charts and meridian lines, and I printed about four or five of them, and I taped them to my kitchen cabinets. Then every sting session I would go with a little black Sharpie and I'd mark little dots where I had stung. And so I just kept moving around until I looked like I was polka-dotted. I thought, "Well, that's a pretty good start, getting everything kind covered."
Deb: But like I say, you go back to just pick one or two areas and start working on those. It really is the kind of thing that you can customize it for each person and people can try a lot of different things. I'm always available to talk with them as a sounding board if they want to discuss one of their approaches or strategies, I'm happy to help. People can give me a holler.
Deb: I want to make this commonplace, so my resources are all free right now. People sometimes will pay me for my coaching time, but if people don't have the ability to pay, I'm still going to talk to them. But we want to try to get the foundation built up for some of our projects that we want to work on. I just want people to give it a try and to be very successful with it. At the end of the day, follow your intuition and most people, at about six months, they start to get a real handle on this and a feel for it and then they'll just take off and run with it and use it for this, that or the other. They'll call me up and go, "You don't believe what I did."
Deb: Those are a lot of fun to take those calls. Yeah. If people want to learn more they can ... I know you have a bunch of links to my work that you're going to share. We've got the 11 radio shows and YouTube, and if they have a local group and that group wants to pay my travel costs, I will get on a plane and fly and do a seminar for you just about anywhere. You can just give us a call and leave me a message and I'll get back to you and we'll see what we can work on.
Deb: I had a lady call me a few years ago out of Canada and she said, "We've got a really sick Lyme patient here and we need to get her onto bee venom right away. She's ready to go," and five days later I was on a plane flying to Canada. I stayed with the family at their home and ate meals with them while I was there. Just some perfect strangers and we all had a great time. We got four patients started on it while I was there, which was great. I'll meet people where they're at and try to get them situated and set up and get them going.
Nicole: If somebody wants to support the foundation without maybe getting involved directly, I know that you have a membership and a sponsorship as well as your AmazonSmiling?
Deb: Right. Yes, we have Flippin memberships that start at $5.00 for people that don't have a lot of money, a year, that go up to $25 a year. That helps to get you entered in our system and we're going to send you information about what's going on in the bee venom world, and some of the stories that we're encountering, and our educational outreach. Any time we do updates and that you'll be notified.
Deb: Then we have a sign-up available right for the bee venom survey, so we're accumulating that list as well. But if people want to get ahold of us, they just go to the website, put a submission in and I'll give him a holler back or they can call the phone number. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit. People can make donations through PayPal to FlippinLyme@gmail, and I'm sure you'll have links to all this with your fabulous system that you have here Nicole.
Deb: Even if people want to just mail a check to us they can do that as well.
Nicole: And for the listeners, we'll be putting a ton of links in the description, everything that we've talked about. So if you want this information, you're not going to have to go searching the internet for it. We'll put it on there so that you can reach out to Deb directly or look at some of these references that we've talked about.
Nicole: Well Deb, thank you so much for taking the time to share all the information. I know that I'm on information overload and it's really fascinating. It's something that I definitely want to learn more about and I encourage anybody that's interested and just do the research and look at what's out there. And those that are suffering from illnesses, this is something to consider as well.
Deb: Well, thank you for the opportunity to share my story and the progress that we made at the foundation and, of course, all of the great free resources for people who, even if you don't intend to sting yourself, maybe you're a beekeeper and you just want to learn about the truth about venom and how it works. Because, sadly, a lot of our bee books don't really talk about it either. Come on over and learn about it. I'm happy to talk to anybody.
Deb: I'll meet you where you're at and share my knowledge, and we can get some real information out there in the world about venom and the value of it. So thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate your time, Nicole, and your invitation to be on your show. I can only do one thing and that is to hug all of your listeners and thank them for their time to listen to this subject. I really appreciate it.
Nicole: Again Deb, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and sharing all that information with us.
Deb: Now, I want you to get out there and get your sting on, baby.
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