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Paraffin Spa Treatments

Salons and Spas

It is said that the Romans poured warm wax over the body before massage to accelerate its benefits. The French used warm wax in wound treatment since the warmth of the paraffin increases blood flow to the area, expediting healing. In modern times paraffin has been used in physical therapy to relieve stiffness and inflammation associated with arthritis, bursitis and other chronic joint ailments, as well as deep tissue injuries that can benefit from a modality of warm, moist heat. Paraffin is relatively inexpensive and can be applied on any body part either by immersion or through application in some way. Those having paraffin treatments noticed how hydrated and nice their skin felt afterward, and so the use of paraffin migrated into salons and spas, which have added to and enhanced the basic service to suit a number of uses in the salon.

What is Paraffin?

The paraffin wax used for therapy and beauty treatments is derived from mineral oil that has been boiled, chilled and pressed through filters. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless. Often essential oils are added for their therapeutic benefits or just because of the fragrance. Paraffin has a melting temperature of about 117 degrees F. and is usually warmed to 125-135 degrees F. to apply to the body.

Methods of Application

One method of applying paraffin wax is to dip the body part into a bath of paraffin that is kept warm. The skin should be cleansed and sanitized before immersion to prevent contamination of the paraffin bath. Often 2-3 immersions are needed to create a complete “skin” of wax over the affected area.

Another method of paraffin application is a “single use” method. The desired amount is placed into a packet of some sort and heated to the desired temperature and then applied to the body. An example would be pre-filled mittens or booties that are heated and used once. Another would be dipping clean cloth strips into warm paraffin and laying them over the area needed. Yet another method is using a brush to “paint” the paraffin on the body.

Leaving the paraffin on until it has completely cooled will insure the most benefit possible is received from the treatment, and often the area is covered (i.e. booties or mittens) to keep the warmth in as long as possible. The used paraffin should be immediately disposed of, as any bacteria present on the skin will be concentrated in the wax once it’s removed.

Paraffin in the Salon

Beauty treatments utilizing paraffin are quite common in spas and salons that offer skin care or massage. Manicurists often use paraffin after applying emollients to the skin in their manicure and pedicure treatments. The warmth of the paraffin opens the pores and allows a deeper hydration of the skin. Estheticians often use paraffin in facials for the same reason. Massage therapists often incorporate a hand or foot paraffin treatment along with their massage work for its pampering and soothing effect on the client. The paraffin can be mixed with other ingredients that are clarifying to the skin, and since it is so dense, it holds the special ingredients in contact with the skin long enough for them to be beneficial.

There are many uses for paraffin wax in the salon, and as it is an extra product and application service, there is often an additional charge--usually quite reasonable, however. Be sure to ask your therapist for this service in advance so they can have the paraffin warm and readily available.

Be aware there is usually an added cost for a paraffin treatment, so be sure you know what that might be when your technician offers the service to avoid being surprised at check out.

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