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How Do I Choose the Best Paraffin Bath?

A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.
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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2014
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Paraffin baths usually feature small tubs of melted paraffin wax. People dip hands, feet, and elbows into these baths to relieve arthritis and to soften the skin in these areas. Many spas offer paraffin bath treatments, as do some salons and alternative health clinics. Those wishing to create a paraffin bath at home have several methods to do so. They may choose between using a slow cooker or a paraffin bath tub to melt the wax. When melted, the wax may be used on its own or infused with oils and coloring to improve its appearance and efficacy.

Individuals creating a paraffin bath at home can use a small slow cooker for the purpose, or purchase a special wax bath tub. The tubs offer more temperature settings, are specially designed for melting wax and keeping it at the proper temperature. They are also usually very expensive. Slow cookers are generally cheaper, but don’t often have many temperature settings.

If using a slow cooker to melt paraffin, turn it on low until the wax is melted, then turn it back to the 'keep warm' setting. Wait about 20 minutes for the wax to cool slightly before dipping body parts into the solution. The low temperature setting on slow cookers is usually still hot enough to cause a rather severe burn, however. Also, slow cookers used to melt wax should not be used to make food.

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Those using a paraffin bath tub should also typically use a higher temperature to melt the wax, then turn that temperature down. These devices also come with instructions to make them easier to use. The instruction booklet may also offer suggestions for ingredients that can be added to the paraffin bath to help ease joint pain or keep skin soft.

These treatments are called paraffin baths for a reason. Soy and beeswax may be options for those looking for a natural treatment, but these waxes also usually get hotter faster than paraffin. Colorless, odorless paraffin is also typically a good medium for holding many kinds of scents, oils, and herbs.

Olive, jojoba, and avocado oils are all generally good softening agents to add to a paraffin bath. Rose oil also works well for soothing inflamed skin and keeping it soft. Those using a paraffin bath for painful joints may want to add ginger oil, mint extract, or even a few chili pepper flakes to the wax. These ingredients generally penetrate the joints and offer a soothing tingling sensation. Individuals concerned with the appearance of their wax may add a spoonful or two of food coloring to it.

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