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Paraffin Bath

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Paraffin bath is a form of heat therapy.

Paraffin wax can be heated to temperatures of over 95 °F (35 °C), without burning or injuring the hand. As it melts, the paraffin becomes a liquid and is able to retain more heat. Then, when a hand, foot, or other area is dipped into the heated bath, the phase of the paraffin that surrounds the dipped area quickly changes into a solid. The heat that goes into melting the paraffin comes out when it solidifies into a comforting paraffin coating, thus transferring the heat into the affected limb. Paraffin is essentially the medium that transfers heat from the Therabath to the painful area.

The hand is usually dipped more than once to allow a thicker wax coat to form, making the coating stay warm for longer and less likely to break or tear prematurely. After the hands have been dipped in the wax, they are wrapped in plastic (Saran wrap) or a special type of plastic bag or glove, and then covered with a towel or special mitten to retain warmth. The hands are left for a few minutes before the paraffin is cooled and dried.

The therapeutic effects of a paraffin bath include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; reducing inflammation, edema, and aiding in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.

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