It is one of the most efficient methods of applying conducted heat in which a mixture of milted paraffin and mineral oil is used to heat a part of the body in proportion of 4 parts wax to1 oil in order to keep the wax liquid at lower temperature and to prevent burns. The temperature of paraffin is thermostatically controlled for treatment between 42-44°C.
Wax has low thermal conductivity. Therefore; it gives off heat slowly and so it prevents the patient feeling as hot as in water of same temperature. After removal of the wax, the part cools quickly.
Different techniques are used to apply the paraffin wax to the target body part and also it can be combined with exercises which can be performed without supervision. With different techniques of application, the treated part must be wrapped in a plastic bag and towel to maintain heat.
The treatment time is from 10-30 minutes according to the case. The patient should feel warmth and tingling sensation.
Paraffin Baths provide heat to contoured bony areas of the body (e.g., feet, hands, or wrists). They are used to treat subacute or chronic rheumatoid arthritis associated with joint stiffness and decreased ROM, relieve pain and muscle spasm, treat chronic edema and inflammation, and to soften the adhesions and scars in the skin and thus facilitate the mobilization and stretching techniques.
It should not be used in patients with decreased skin sensation, infection and open wounds, thin scars, skin rashes, peripheral vascular disease, cancer and tuberculosis in the area to be treated, or deep X-ray therapy within 3 months prior treatment.
It should be taking into consideration that the part to be treated must be cleaned and dried with all jewelry is removed before the treatment, the bath must be cleaned regularly because of the sediment that accumulate, and complete paraffin and oil changing every six months.