A paraffin bath machine contains a heat source and tank that holds paraffin wax. The machine melts the wax and maintains it in a liquid state. When you immerse your hand, foot or other body part in the liquid paraffin, the wax coats the body part completely. The warm temperature from the wax penetrates the skin, muscles and bones to provide a soothing effect that can help relieve the pain of arthritis, bursitis, joint inflammation or muscular strains or spasms.
Place the paraffin bath machine on a flat and stable surface. Place the paraffin provided with the machine into the tank of the machine. If the machine comes with a plastic grill, place that on top of the unmelted paraffin. Position the lid on top of the grill and the paraffin.
Plug the machine into an electrical socket. Leave the machine plugged in for eight to 10 hours to allow the paraffin to melt completely. Leave it plugged in at all times to keep the paraffin liquid ready for use.
Remove any jewelry from the body part to be treated, then wash and dry the skin. Apply a liquid sanitizer to the body part and allow the sanitizer to dry completely. Apply a lanolin-based lotion to make the removal of the hardened paraffin easier.
Touch the edge of your palm to the melted paraffin to test that the temperature is comfortable.
Immerse your hand, elbow or foot slowly into the paraffin. Remove the body part and wait for several seconds to allow the paraffin to cool and harden. Repeat this step from three to 10 times to build several layers of wax.
Cover your hand or foot with a plastic liner and a hand mitt or boot, available as an accessory to the paraffin bath machine. Allow the paraffin to remain in place for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the mitt or boot, then take off the plastic liner and peel the paraffin from around the treated body part. Dispose of both the plastic liner and the used paraffin.
Add more new paraffin to the bath machine to bring the level of paraffin up to the fill level mark.
Therabath recommends removing any clothing from around the body part to be treated to avoid staining it with wax.
The Homedics Paraspa Instruction Manual recommends that individuals with diabetes not use a paraffin wax machine.
Do not apply paraffin to skin that has cuts or other open wounds, is inflamed or irritated, or has decreased sensitivity.
Stop using the paraffin bath machine if the wax feels too hot or not hot enough. Consult with your physician concerning your experience with the machine to determine whether continued use is warranted.
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.