Saturday, January 28, 2017

PT Therapeutic Modality - Paraffin Bath

Paraffin is used in a conventional treatment in which wax is applied to a body part, usually an extremity, as a heat treatment.  used almost exclusively to warm up hands prior to exercise.

Characteristics of Paraffin:
- Low conductivity which means it heats up quickly
- Less heat is transferred to the skin than water would transfer
- Softens and lubricates
- Is flammable to open flame
- Best to clean up with alcohol or soap and water



When to use Paraffin Treatment:
- For joint problems that would benefit with heat prior to exercise - especially hands and feet
- Healed scars to prepare for exercise and stretching
- Circulatory Diseases - moderate impairment only to improve circulation


When not to use Paraffin Treatments:
- In the presence of skin lesions, open areas or infections
- Allergic responses to paraffin or oils
- Sensory loss
- Severe peripheral vascular disease.


Home Treatment Instruction:

1. You will need paraffin wax, mineral oil, double boiler, or model paraffin bath, and a thermometer.
2. Melt the wax and oil in boiler
3. Keep away from open flames since it can burn
4. Let cool until a white coating appears on top of the wax or until thermometer is 126 degrees F
5. Wash hands or feet thoroughly with soap and water.
6. Inspect skin - do not treat if there is a cut or rash
7. Hold hand in a still position, dip to the wrist, with the first being rapid and deepest.
8. Remove hand from wax
9. Repeat 5-10 times until a wax glove is formed. Do not move the fingers or the glove will crack, which will cause the glove to cool too fast.
10. Remove hand and cover with plastic bag and then wrap in a towel for 10+ minutes
11.  Remove the wax by running your finger through the glove and peel it off.
12. Return the wax to the container.


Advantages of Paraffin Baths:
Maintains good contact with highly contouring areas
Easy to use
Inexpensive
Oil lubricates and conditions the skin
Can be used by patient at home

Disadvantages:
Messy an time consuming
Risk of burns
Wound irritation

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