A paraffin treatment uses warm oil-based wax to provide pain relief to hands, feet and sore joints and muscles. This treatment has skin-softening benefits as well. You can do a warm paraffin treatment at home with a small appliance and special paraffin designed for this purpose, or you can have it done at a spa or salon.
A paraffin treatment soothes chronic joint pain and relaxes stiff muscles, and improves blood flow to the treated area, as noted by Therabath, a manufacturer of paraffin treatment products. It increases range of motion for people with arthritis, bursitis and other chronic conditions that cause pain and stiffness. Paraffin treatments also smooth and soften dry, chapped, rough and scaly skin. It can be helpful for chronic skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.
How It Works
Paraffin treatment is a form of deep heat therapy. Liquified paraffin wax is very efficient at absorbing and retaining heat. When you dip your hand or foot, for example, into the paraffin bath, heat transfers from the wax into the affected area as the wax solidifies. The heat increases circulation and relieves pain and stiffness. To aid in skin softening, paraffin increases blood supply to the skin, while also opening pores and trapping moisture from underlying layers of skin, as noted by the Medical Supplies & Equipment Company.
Several types of health-care providers and salons offer paraffin treatments. Paraffin treatment can be part of physical and occupational therapy, according to Therabath, and may be performed before therapeutic exercise. It can be beneficial for rehabilitation of sports injuries and other physical trauma. You can have the treatment performed during therapeutic massage or as part of a manicure, pedicure or facial.
Items for Home Treatment
You also can do your own paraffin treatment at home using a small appliance specifically designed for this use, or a slow cooker that holds at least 3 quarts. You'll need 3 lbs. of a special type of therapy paraffin available from a medical supply store or department, explains the Ohio State University Medical Center. You'll also need a candy thermometer, and a plastic bag and bath towel for each area being treated.
Instruction for Home Treatment
Melt your paraffin in the appliance and allow it to cool to 125 degrees F. Remove all jewelry, and thoroughly wash and dry the area you want to treat. To soothe arthritic hand joints, for example, dip your hand into the paraffin several times to form a thick wax glove, being careful not to touch the hot container itself. Then place your hand back into the paraffin bath for up to 30 minutes. Peel the wax away when you're finished and save it for your next treatment.
Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.