Fairfield County Edition

Emerging Lyme Disease Treatments

Changing Lives with Intriguing Methods

Each year, about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that doesn’t account for the countless people left undiagnosed, struggling to understand what’s wrong, or those who have lived with Lyme for years (or decades). Symptoms can be sporadic, countless and difficult to treat. Upon initial diagnosis, most patients are prescribed antibiotics, which it is believed can nip the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, in the bud if started early. For others, this could be only the beginning of years of pain, confusion and hopelessness.

No treatment method is one-size-fits-all when it comes to this perplexing illness. Talk to nearly anyone with chronic Lyme disease about treatments and they’ll tell you they’ve tried them all. That may not be true anymore. Several local practitioners are offering more unique treatments that they think might be keys to Lyme recovery. 

Bee Venom to the Rescue

Danbury's Beth Houghtaling was managing her Lyme disease for nearly 27 years with what had become an acceptable treatment plan to her—namely off and on antibiotics, antidepressants and supplements. She had accepted her few chronic symptoms as the norm and life had settled into “fine”.

After being a beekeeper for several years, Houghtaling learned the power of apitherapy—bee venom therapy (BVT)—by accident. She had heard about “that bee sting therapy”, but admits she first thought it was crazy. Why would you want to get stung by bees once—let alone on a weekly basis?

“I was called to help with a beehive that had gotten knocked over by a bear,” she explains. She got stung unexpectedly about 8 or 10 times all over her feet and legs. The following week, in another strange occurrence, she got stung again, multiple times on her face and head.

“My face swelled up; I looked terrible. However, I noticed three days later I had forgotten to take my antidepressants. So I took one because I was not ready to go through the withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping them. Then three weeks went by and I had simply forgotten to take them—and I felt great,” Houghtaling enthuses. Her shoulder, which had previously been frozen and in pain, improved. She now has full range of motion with zero pain, and has been off antidepressants since September 2017. “After my experience, I began to research BVT and was blown away by the research results.”

In a 2017 study by the University of New Haven, it was found that the melittin in bee venom had significant effects on all tested forms of Borrelia burgdorferi, and that whole bee venom could be an effective antimicrobial agent for Lyme disease. “The bee venom breaks down the biofilm layer that develops around the Borrelia spirochetes and kills them off, in addition to stimulating the immune system at the same time,” explains Houghtaling, a trained member of the American Apitherapy Society. “The venom works on the same pain receptors as opioids, so your body is overall feeling better as it heals. It also boosts dopamine levels in the brain, which is how I was able to get off antidepressants.”

While there are several products made with bee venom that can help, the most dramatic results are achieved when the venom is administered by the bee itself. After itching and swelling dissipates, the melittin provides lasting chronic symptom relief. 

This treatment is intense and may not suit everyone. Initially, Houghtaling does a “test sting” to the patient after applying ice to the area to ease any pain. She waits to see how their body responds before proceeding with additional stings. As a Registered Respiratory Therapist, she’s highly qualified to guide patients during the process, monitoring for any potential allergic reactions or issues. The Lyme protocol involves up to 20 stings per session, three times a week for about a year. Typically, people start to see results after two weeks to one month.

The downside to BVT is that the bees die after stinging. “I struggled with that for a long time,” Houghtaling says. “After stinging, I place the bees immediately in a jar of ice water so they die within seconds. I thank them for their sacrifice and return their bodies to the Earth afterward.” She wouldn’t do this if she did not see such profound effects for people. “I know it sounds sappy, but the bees and I are changing lives.”

AmpCoil Tunes the Body

After seeing firsthand the effects of the AmpCoil technology for herself, her daughter and son, Cathy Whelehan affectionately now refers to the pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) device as “a love song for the body”. One of her clients has dubbed it “the magic healing donut”.

The donut-shaped AmpCoil device has three parts. It uses a modified Nikola Tesla coil (the donut), connected to an amplifier specifically made for sound therapy, which is accomplished by a combination of bioresonance and entrainment. Running the show is a tablet, which uses the BetterGuide app. “On the BetterGuide app, you create a profile, then there are a number of different journeys you can go on. It uses biofeedback via voice analysis. You speak into the tablet and it shares with you what the body is calling for—the highest priorities,” explains Whelehan. “Anything over 85 percent is calling for extra attention in the body. You can tune up the organs and nutrition that you’re in need of help with. Part of what the whole device is geared toward is the idea of balance and nourishment.”

The PEMF therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain, while improving circulation and oxygenation of the blood. This can “improve and support the value of other Lyme treatments by acting as a whole-body battery recharger,” says AmpCoil.com.

Whelehan, an Independent AmpCoil Ambassador and owner of Open Sky Yoga Barn, in Redding, suffered from Lyme and chronic fatigue for years along with her daughter, whose Lyme affected her brain. Her son was misdiagnosed with Lyme, and had been sick for 17 of his 21 years with Ankylosing Spondylitis. After a year of using AmpCoil, her son’s bloodwork is all normal and he’s weaning off medications. Her daughter, she says, “got her life back.”

AmpCoil was born out of necessity for founders Aaron and Geneva Bigelow.
Both struggling with Lyme disease symptoms, they tried every treatment they could find, but kept relapsing soon after. Aligned with the principles of nature, the AmpCoil system merges PEMF, biofeedback, bioresonance and sound technology into an all-in-one wellness system for home use. According to AmpCoil.com, over 89 percent of users report an 84 to 93 percent reduction of their symptoms.

“PEMF has been around a while, but many are just targeting and killing off bugs and microbes, so the body goes into suffer mode. The AmpCoil is tuning up and shifting on all molecular and cellular levels,” explains Whelehan. “It detects which microbes, metals and toxins are most prevalent in the body and need to be cleansed. It helps the bio-terrain naturally align into a more balanced state. It tunes your body.”

Whelehan is currently running a program in conjunction with the nonprofit Wellness for Humanity Foundation (WFHFoundation.org), which aims to help families with Lyme using technologies like the AmpCoil. “WFH brings the AmpCoil into families where three or more people have Lyme. It rotates from family to family, with great results,” she says. She is running the first pilot program in the country at her studio, which is geared toward individual people with Lyme, who do not qualify for the WFH family program. “We currently see 12 participants in this pilot program, three times a week for four months, for free.” Whelehan donates all of her time and the use of her AmpCoil, with the help of three volunteers and two part-time employees.

She offers AmpCoil sessions at Open Sky Yoga Barn, and once a week she travels to Salt of the Earth Healing Arts Sanctuary in Woodbury, to hold appointments. After an initial free, hour-long demo, many people already report some relief. “For those who come regularly, the data shows that three times a week is best, but you can do it less,” she says.

For Whelehan, the best part of sharing AmpCoil is “activating hope”. She says, “For the first time in a long time, they’re hopeful. The other thing that comes back is joy. The lights start to go back on.” Even while they’re still struggling through the recovery process, the shift is happening physically, mentally and emotionally.

Lyme disease can be a scary, unruly illness, forcing us to stop, take a deep breath and take stock of what our bodies are telling us. Managing and ultimately curing Lyme can be an ongoing process that often takes a village. The village for some, may happen to include a “magic donut” or a hive of bees.

Beth Houghtaling administers bee venom therapy at Intuitive Apitherapy, in Danbury. Connect with her at 203-942-5196, IntuitiveApitherapy.com or follow Intuitive Apitherapy on Facebook.

Cathy Whelehan offers AmpCoil treatments at Open Sky Yoga Barn, in Redding and at Salt of the Earth Healing Arts Sanctuary in Woodbury. Connect with her at 203-648-8023 or OpenSkyYogaBarn.com. See ad, page 26.

Michelle Bense is a freelance writer and editor for Natural Awakenings magazines, currently living and exploring in New Mexico. Connect with her at EditorMichelleBense@gmail.com.

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