Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Patients Flock to Indonesian Bee Venom Therapy Center

Muntowib: Bees and Lessons for Humans
P.J. Leo, The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), 6/20/2007

Visitors are warmly greeted at the clinic in the Scout Apiary Center in Cibubur, East Jakarta, where Muntowib, 45, offers bee-sting therapy, also known as cultivar api-puncture.

Before treating patients, Muntowib asks details of their complaints and diseases, if any, they have suffered. He then promptly picks up a cultivated bee with a pair of tweezers and makes it sting nerve points on the body of his patients.

"Bees are harmless until we disturb them," Muntowib said while treating patients, who come from all over the country.

"Most of them have given up on medical treatments and are tired of taking drugs without any recovery prospect," said Muntowib, who dropped out of Sunan Ampel Islamic Institute in Kediri, East Java.

Yongki, a stroke patient with a paralyzed arm and leg, has enjoyed improved muscle movement after regular bee stings at the Cibubur apiary. Previously he dragged his foot when walking. Now he can walk normally and move his hand.

Cultivar api-puncture, a healing method dating back to ancient civilizations, is one of the many alternative treatments mushrooming in the country. And therapists like Muntowib believe that disease caused by nervous disorders or blood vessel clogging can be cured with bee venom, called apitoxin, which stimulates the heart and produces a "warmth" through the cardiovascular system.

While the healing power of apitoxin is yet to be proven scientifically, response to the bee-sting clinic in Cibubur has been overwhelming and the apiary center appointed Wardoyo as Muntowib's assistant in 2004…

Api-puncture, according to Muntowib, was already widespread in China 2,000 years ago. "It applies the methods of acupuncture. But while metal needles are used in acupuncture, bee stings replace needles in api-puncture."

The points of the bee stings on the body are the same as in acupuncture, where illnesses can be healed. In api-puncture, ailments of the nerves and blood vessels are treated with the venom of worker bees, which in the Cibubur apiary belong to the honeybee colony of Apis Mellifera, a species from Australia.

"Three species are raised here in Cibubur, which are Apis Mellifera, Apis Screna and Apis Dorsata. In the scout apiary center, the bees are raised for api-puncture as well as for their honey."…

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