What is a paraffin wax treatment? Is it the same as a paraffin bath?
Hello, friends! A few months ago, we wrote an article on the best paraffin baths after Jane and I treated ourselves to one. We’d had this treatment in a spa hotel and since the device was affordable, we decided to take the plunge.
I never got to talk about what a paraffin wax treatment is, though, and it seems a lot of you are wondering: so let’s set that right.
What is paraffin therapy?
Paraffin wax treatment, paraffin bath, wax therapy — all these names simply pertain to paraffin therapy. This is a form of deep heat therapy that makes use of paraffin wax. It can be used for either the hands or the feet and is good for moisturizing and even for managing pain conditions such as arthritis.
During a session, paraffin wax is heated in a paraffin bath. The hands or feet are dipped in several times forming a layers of hardening wax. This casing traps heat inside and also opens pores at the same time. Later, the cooled wax is removed (an easy process).
How it works
The mechanism that makes this type of therapy effective is thermotherapy (heat therapy). When heat is applied to our body, it increases blood flow in the area, relaxes muscles, and lessens stiffness in joints.
If you’ve ever had a wonderful bath in a hot spring or even just a warm hot tub bath, then you already know the benefits of heat therapy. Now add to that the healing benefits from the paraffin wax and mineral oil and you’ve got an inexpensive yet effective treatment.
Benefits of paraffin wax therapy
For such an easy and simple treatment, this relaxing treat has a lot of benefits. From the moisturizing of dry and chapped hands to the more serious concerns of addressing pain from diseases of the muscles, joints, and nerves.
Here are some of the benefits you can reap from a paraffin wax treatment:
- Moisturizes skin to make it silky smooth
- Helps treat pain from arthritis of the hands and feet
- Soothes chronic joint pain
- Aids in managing pain from fibromyalgia
- Increases range of motion for patients with pain and stiffness problems
- Minimizes muscle spasms
- Brings down inflammation
- Lowers fluid retention (edema)
- Flushes out toxins
- Helps in treating sprains
- Good for the recovery of pulled muscles
- Relaxes stiff joints
- Good for scars
- May help with skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis
- Soothes and softens callouses
- Heals dry and cracked skin especially in the heel area
- Scent from the essential or mineral oil acts as aromatherapy
How to do paraffin wax therapy at home
What you need:
- 4 lbs food-grade paraffin wax
- 1 cup mineral oil or essential oil (use wintergreen or your favorite)
- A paraffin bath or double boiler
- Plastic bag that can fit your hand
- Warming mitt or thick towel
- Soap and warm water
What to do:
- Melt your wax in your paraffin bath. Once melted, leave it in the paraffin bath.
- If you don’t have a paraffin bath machine, use a double boiler. Place the wax in the boiler and set the heat to low or medium. When the wax is melted, pour the wax into a sanitized and greased plastic container.
- Next, prep your hands (or feet). Wash with soap and warm water. Pat dry with a towel.
- Test the temperature of the melted wax again with a finger or a candy thermometer to avoid getting burned.
- After double checking the temperature, immerse your hand (or foot) fully into the bath. Wait for a 5 seconds before dunking it again. Do this 4-5 times.
- Next, put your waxy hand inside the plastic bag to avoid making a mess. Wrap in a towel or put inside warming mitt to retain heat longer.
- Do the other hand.
- After 15-20 minutes, remove the cooled wax from both hands (or feet).
These guys are a bit wacky but I remember watching them and learning a lot after we bought our own paraffin bath for home use.
If you are using a paraffin bath for the first time, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll be heating wax so we want to avoid accidents. To be sure, start with the lowest setting first.
Use a laser thermometer for determining the temperature of the wax if you have one. We use the one that we got when we started cooking on salt tiles.
When using Korean face masks, it’s important to NOT go beyond the recommended time. For paraffin baths, the opposite is true. The longer your hands or feet stay in your warm and heated waxy glove, the better.
You can apply your favorite moisturizer after a treatment so long as lotion is NOT contra-indicated for your condition.
Foot baths can be used by people with diabetes – with care!
Author: Philip Andrew
A writer and teacher who enjoys lazing around and building winter nests out of duvets. “Most are too itchy. You’ve got to be picky.” His goal is to create a complete home spa for 24/7 access to rest and relaxation. Next on the agenda: a barrel sauna for the garden. Connect with Philip on Twitter @completehomespa.