Paraffin Bath Therapy

What is Paraffin Bath Therapy

Paraffin Bath on feet

Paraffin Bath therapy is intended to reduce joint pain, relieve stiffness, stimulate circulation, and to moisturize the skin. It uses paraffin wax, a mineral wax obtained from petroleum. Paraffin is a harmless substance that is used in both therapeutic and cosmetic settings.

Different grades of paraffin are available on the market for various purposes. Paraffin that is used on the skin is labeled “food-grade” by the FDA. This means that it is of high enough quality to be used in food processing.

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USES OF PARAFFIN BATH

Paraffin therapy is used by various medical professionals for heat treatment. It is known to minimize pain and stiffness, inflammation, strains, muscle spasms, and more.

Paraffin is also used in industrial settings where workers undergo constant repetitive motion or intense cold. Some of these occupations are tough on the hands. They require frequent hand-washing and heavy use that severely leaves the skin dry or the muscles stiff and tired. Paraffin bath therapy can treat sprains, reduce inflammations, and lessen muscle spasms.
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How Does Paraffin Bath Therapy Work?

WHEN NOT TO USE PARAFFIN BATH

In addition to providing paraffin treatments in therapy settings, medical professionals can also teach their clients how to use warm paraffin at home. However, paraffin should NOT be used for the following conditions:
Applying on open cuts or wounds
Inflammatory skin conditions
Abnormal growth on the skin
If you have poor blood circulation
Absence of sensation on the extremities
If prone to hemorrhaging or abnormal sensitivity to heat.

HOW IS IT APPLIED?

  1. Paraffin wax is melted and kept at a medically-accepted, steady temperature of about 130º F.
  2. Before applying on the skin, sanitize the area to be treated.
  3. Apply a small quantity of hydrating cream to increase the skin-softening benefit.
  4. If the problem area is an extremity (hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, feet, and ankles), then slowly dip it into the paraffin bath several times, until you cover the area with layers of paraffin.
  5. If the problem area is on the back, face, shoulder, knee, a brush or fabric strips can be used to apply the warm paraffin.
  6. The number of layers will depend on what purpose is the paraffin being used for. If it's for skin conditioning, you can layer three to four times. If it's for relieving pain, you can layer the affected area more often. The more layers of paraffin wax, the longer the heat lasts.
  7. Plastic liners and insulated covers may be used to prolong the heat and maximize its benefit. When the paraffin has cooled, simply remove the wax residue off your skin and apply moisturizer. Paraffin wax does not pull out hair. Also, never cover the whole body in warm paraffin. 

PHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF WARM PARAFFIN BATH

Applying heat to the body has numerous physiological benefits. Heat expands the blood vessels which improves blood circulation while removing waste products that cause inflammation and stiffness. There's also a temporary increase in the pain threshold, a decrease in muscle spasms, and an increase in flexibility.

A warm paraffin bath promotes all of these heat-related benefits. Other forms of heat therapy may dry out the skin, but a paraffin bath leaves it hydrated, soft, and pliable. This modality is also often prescribed in the post-inflammatory phase of injury and for chronic pain conditions such as arthritis.

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