What is Paraffin wax?
Paraffin wax is a colorless, soft, solid wax made of saturated hydrocarbons.
It had two primary reasons for use in a spa setting. Since wax is a natural emollient, it is used to soften skin and increase moisture levels. It also can provide pain relief for sore joints and muscles, especially in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia conditions by increasing blood flow, relaxing muscles, and decreasing joint stiffness via heat therapy.
Paraffin wax treatments are not recommended for clients that have altered sensation or difficulty sensing temperature changes. This is since it can be very hot, and these clients can be susceptible to burn risks. Since paraffin wax is a petroleum product, clients with chemical sensitivities may react to it as well.
How is it used in a massage/ spa setting?
Painted on paraffin wax
Is done as an add-on to a massage treatment as a form of heat therapy.
The paraffin wax is painted on the back with foam paint brushes over top of a barrier cream and then left for a short time while the therapist works on other areas of the body.
Commonly done at spas during manicures and pedicures. Due to contamination concerns, the hands and feet are not directly dipped in the paraffin wax pots at spas. However, if you own and exclusively use your own pot, feel free to do so, as I find higher levels of heat can be achieved with multiple dipping layers of the wax.
Instead, the paraffin wax is put in a plastic bag and then the client’s foot or hand is put inside. This also helps decrease the chance of wax spilling and creating a mess.
How to use
It is important to have a barrier cream on to provide a layer between the skin and the wax.
- Heat up wax in paraffin wax heater( which can take 4-6 hours)
- Put on barrier cream
- Quickly dip in the first layer ( Do not touch the hot element at the bottom of the pot)
- Remove hand for 3 seconds to let wax slightly solidify
- Repeat until 5-10 layers have been built up
- Give hand/ foot 30 seconds to cool/ solidify
- Put on the plastic covering
- Put mitts slippers over top of the plastic cover
- Enjoy being a wax statue for 10-20 minutes ( perhaps have a movie/ tv show/ youtube video/audiobook on standby to make efficient use of your time)
- Stiff, cool paraffin wax is an indication to remove it.
You will feel the heat from the under layers radiate to the upper ones, and it can be an intense heat sensation at first. Keeping hands and feet pointed downwards during the dip methods will prevent these intense heat pockets from forming. Never dip deep enough into the dish to touch the burner, as it will be hot!
Why do you not offer paraffin wax (currently) with your treatments?
Paraffin wax is a modality that I am very happy to promote because I use it in my self-care routine weekly. I aim to do a weekly treatment on my hands, wrists, and feet once a week. Yes, it takes time for the wax to heat up and is messy but to me, the benefits ( heat, decreases wrist and hand stiffness) are worth it.
I do not use it currently in my massage treatments because it is a messy modality and my room has a carpeted floor, and I am notoriously clumsy. In the future, when I have an easy to clean floor surface, I would be likely to consider using it.