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A woman in Spain has died after undergoing bee sting therapy, an unconventional treatment endorsed by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow on her lifestyle website Goop.
The 55-year-old, who was said to be in good health, suddenly developed a severe reaction to the treatment after two years of regular use.
She later died of organ failure, according to a recently published medical case report. It is not known how the woman became aware of the treatment.
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Known as apitherapy, the treatment involves applying bees to the skin and allowing them to sting patients. Paltrow and other proponents say it helps with pain, arthritis, and inflammation.
“But evidence to back those claims is weak and mixed, and numerous medical studies have tallied serious risks and adverse events, including anaphylaxis, stroke, and death,” Ars Technica reports.
One of the report’s authors, Ricardo Madrigal-Burgaleta concluded: “The risks of undergoing apitherapy may exceed the presumed benefits, leading us to conclude that this practice is both unsafe and unadvisable.”
Paltrow recommended the treatment in an online article on Goop, and in an interview with the New York Times.
“I’ve been stung by bees,” she said. “It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy. People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.”
The Hollywood actress, who has no medical training, has long been criticised for the bizarre – and sometimes dangerous - health advice she extolls on her website.
One of Goop’s most ridiculed recommendations was the suggestion that inserting large gemstones into the vagina would provide a host of health benefits.
“One speaker at its annual In Goop Health Summit notably claimed that AIDS treatment was actually responsible for deaths [and] that GMOs and bread cause depression,” Jezebel reports.