Wax bath therapy

Wax bath therapy is intended to moisturise, soften the skin, improve blood circulation and reduce pain of joints. The wax bath uses paraffin wax that is soft and melts at a lower temperature than normal, therefore it does not cause any burns or blisters. It is quite beneficial for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Raynaud's or any rheumatic pains. Paraffin wax is also known to help muscle relaxation and muscle movement.

If you have an open ulcer/wound DO NOT put your hands directly into the paraffin wax. However, you can put on latex/non latex gloves to protect the wound before putting them into the paraffin wax bath. You can wax your hands or feet as often as you please and the more often you do it the more beneficial you would find it. It is suggested to use the wax 3 times a week.

Wax bath equipment

You will need a paraffin wax bath, a pair of mittens and about 1 kg (2lb) of paraffin wax. If you look after the paraffin wax, you may reuse it and it may last almost 2 years or more. You will need a paraffin wax bath that has a thermostat, so that you can be able to control the heat and avoid overheating. We strongly recommend you test a small area on the inside of your wrist prior to full immersion of your hands or feet. You may be able to purchase your own paraffin wax bath online, you would just need to type the words 'paraffin wax bath' in the search box.

Price range: £20 to £100. When buying the wax bath, please check whether the bath includes a pair of mittens and wax, if it does not then the mittens and wax can be purchased separately. Usually the wax bath machine comes with the manufacturer's guidance instructions, which you will need to follow in partnership with the following:

How to have a wax bath

1. Melt the wax in the paraffin wax bath. Do not immerse your hands or feet into the wax at this time.

2. Once melted and at the right temperature according to the thermostat, allow the wax to cool a little.

3. Wash your hands or feet thoroughly before using the wax.

4. Test a small area on the inside of your wrist to make sure the temperature is suitable for you before you fully immerse your hands or feet.

5. Dip your hands or feet into the wax and then completely remove them. Allow the wax to begin solidifying. Rapidly re-dip for another few seconds and remove again. Separate the fingers or toes before dipping to allow the wax to coat all around them.

6. Repeat the process until you have built up to four or five layers. Then rapidly wrap the hand with one of the following: a. Plastic liner b. Foil c. Greaseproof paper d. Roasting bag. When they are in place put your hand or foot inside the mitten or you can use an old towel and wrap it around your hand or foot.

7. Leave the mitten or the towel for approximately 20-30 minutes.

8. Peel off the wax and make it into a ball, exercising the fingers by gripping and un-gripping the wax before returning it to the pan for future use.

9. Moisturise your hands/feet using emollients or moisturisers.

10.Continue to exercise the joints for at least ten minutes after the procedure.

Information provided by the Hillingdon NHS Foundation Trust.

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