How to Use a Paraffin Bath

Written by christine wheatley
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How to Use a Paraffin Bath
Use a paraffin bath for softer hands and feet. (Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

A paraffin bath is used for therapy and beauty purposes, most often on the hands and feet. Its indications include muscle relaxation, blood stimulation and pain reduction. It is also used to make skin softer, smoother and more supple. Paraffin baths melt paraffin wax -- an odourless, white, non-toxic tasteless wax -- to a liquid consistency suitable for dipping and coating body parts. When preparing your paraffin bath, be sure to use low melt point paraffin that is designed for therapy or beauty purposes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Paraffin bath
  • Paraffin wax
  • Candy thermometer
  • Towel
  • Small plastic garbage bag
  • Cheesecloth or gauze

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  1. 1

    Follow the instructions from your paraffin bath to determine how much paraffin wax to use. Add the necessary amount to your bath and turn it on, allowing the wax to melt.

  2. 2

    Place a candy thermometer in the paraffin wax to ensure it is not hotter than 51.7 degrees C. Temperatures higher than this can burn your skin.

  3. 3

    Wash the hand, foot or other body part being treated thoroughly.

  4. 4

    Dip your desired body part into the paraffin bath, being careful not to touch the sides or bottom of the bath. Remove it from the bath and hold it above the bath until it stops dripping. Repeat this dipping process several times to form a thick coating of paraffin on your body part.

  5. 5

    Wrap your paraffin-coated body part in a small plastic garbage bag to hold the heat in. Cover the plastic bag with a towel. Leave the bag and towel on your body for 20 minutes.

  6. 6

    Remove the towel and plastic bag. Peel the paraffin off. Dispose of the used paraffin in the garbage; or, strain it through cheesecloth or gauze to clean it and store it in its original container for subsequent uses.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't move your paraffin-coated body part after the first dipping or the paraffin will crack.
  • Purchase low melt point paraffin at medical supply stores.
  • Always be extremely careful with paraffin wax; it is a flammable substance that can burn you if it's not at the proper temperature or used correctly.
  • Never soak any body part in the paraffin bath -- this could result in burns.
  • Don't use paraffin wax on open sores or cuts.

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