It may not surprise you to learn that Gwyneth Paltrow has sought to treat her ailments—in this case inflammation and scarring—by subjecting herself to the stings of live bees. "It's a thousands-of-year-old treatment," the Goop mastermind told the New York Times in 2016. "It's actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it's painful." Now a report published in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology reveals what's believed to be the first death related to bee-sting therapy—aka live bee acupuncture, aka bee venom apitherapy—in someone who had previously shown tolerance for the treatment. In the case from 2015, a 55-year-old Spanish woman died of multiple organ failure after two years of the treatment to relieve muscular contracture and stress.
In bee-sting therapy, bees placed on a patient's body have their heads squeezed until they extend their stingers, the Telegraph reports. The idea is that the stings cause inflammation and lead to an anti-inflammatory response from the body. The unnamed woman started wheezing and having shortness of breath during one of her monthly treatments at a private clinic before losing consciousness. She died weeks later at the hospital. Researchers say severe anaphylactic shock caused a "massive watershed stroke and permanent coma," as well as the multiple organ failure. "The risks of undergoing apitherapy may exceed the presumed benefits, leading us to conclude that this practice is both unsafe and unadvisable," one researcher says. (Doctor accuses Goop of pushing "fake medicine" with $135 coffee enema.)