Last night, Colton and the dozens of women he’s dating on The Bachelor headed to Singapore for an iconic international date. Caelynn was treated to a shopping spree worthy of Crazy Rich Asians, Tayshia bungee jumped off of a 1,000-foot tower, and the rest of the women went to an outdoor market and voluntarily placed leeches on their bodies.
The women and Colton visited "The Leech Lady," and were greeted by a woman administering leeches onto another man’s back. After several screams and squeals from the contestants, "the Leech Lady" explained that they’re doing leech therapy to "get rid of toxins and inflammations."
"Is this even up to code? Where did they get these leeches from? Are they FDA-approved? I’m genuinely concerned," Courtney asked in an interview. These are all great questions. The rest of the gang didn’t seem to have any qualms, and they had leeches applied to their arms and stomachs. "I’m feeding him my blood and he’s loving it," Demi says. "I have the sweetest blood ever."
Bachelor has an unfortunate reputation of going to foreign countries, trying some "adventurous" cuisine to impress the suitor, then calling it "gross" for shock value. (See: Becca Kufrin trying crickets in Thailand.) But in the case of the leech scene, they didn’t even try explaining what the so-called benefits are, they just started doing it.
Leech therapy is a treatment that involves placing carnivorous worms onto the body to feed on a human’s blood. Technically, leech therapy has been around since ancient Egyptian times. In the Middle Ages, leeching was super popular for treating all kinds of things. Nowadays, thanks to advanced modern medicine, leeching is not so mainstream, although it is used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Still, there’s some scientific reasons why people turn to leeches. Studies have shown that after a leech bites you, the leech saliva can have anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing, and antimicrobial effects on the body. For this reason, leeches can be used in a medical setting to treat cardiovascular issues and cancer pain, as well as help people heal from surgery. Some research suggests that leech therapy could be used to treat alopecia areata. And, believe it or not, there have been cases of people using leeches for dental issues.
All of this aside, it’s important to point out that leech therapy can be dangerous. (You can’t exactly get the FDA to regulate a freshwater, blood-sucking worm. It’s a worm.) In studies, 2-36% of people who get leech therapy end up with an infection. When you put a leech on your skin, it can cause itching, blisters, scarring, and in serious cases, a rare skin disease called ulcerative necrosis. Although worms are only supposed to be used once, there’s a potential that leeches could transmit diseases. And since leeches, you know, suck your blood, you could also end up with blood loss.
So, while leech therapy might seem like a cool new wellness treatment to check out, it may not be the best choice. Who knows what Bachelor producers will make these women do next, but we can be sure that there’s enough blood-thirsty face-sucking worms to go around.