At the end of this lecture the student
must be able to
Know the composition of paraffin
Determine the physiological effect of
paraffin wax therapy
Identify the indications and
contraindications of paraffin wax
Know advantages and disadvatages of
Is a form of conductive heat (moist).
It consists of a Mixture of melted
Paraffin and mineral oil in proportions
of four parts wax to one oil
Benefit of paraffin oil
Reduce the melting temperature of
paraffin from 54 ºC to between 45 ºC
and 50 ºC.
Keep the wax liquid at lower temp &
Ratio of paraffin to oil can be safely applied
directly to the skin at this temperature
because of its low specific heat and thermal
Paraffin Wax Unit
which are electrically
Temperature is kept
constant by a
Physiological effects of Paraffin wax
Increase skin temperature 8° to 13°C,
subcutaneous fascia about 5°C and
superficial muscle about 2°C to3°C
after 30 minutes of wax wrapping.
Vasodilatation of superficial
capillaries and arterioles.
Hyperemia of the skin.
Have a sedative effect on the tissues.
Soothing effect to the patient.
Reduction of muscle spasm
After wax the skin is left moist,
soft and pliable.
This is useful method for
stretching scars and adhesions
before applying mobilizing
Indications of Paraffin wax
Pain and muscle spasm.
Edema and inflammation e.g. post
traumatic swelling of hands and feet,
tenosynovitis. Rheumatic conditions,
degenerative joint disease.
Adhesions and Scars :
Old sprain, strain and contusion,
Contraindication of Paraffin wax
Impairment of skin sensation.
Some dermatological conditions e.g. dermatitis.
Circulatory dysfunction e.g. Varicose veins,
deep vein thrombosis and arterial diseases.
Cancer or tuberculosis: in the area to be treated
Infection and open wounds.
Gross edema; the skin is very thin and delicate
and may be damaged.
Lack of comprehension e.g. children - very old
Deep X ray therapy
Advantages of Paraffin Wax Therapy
More than one patient can be treated in
It can be combined with exercises
especially after removal of plaster cum
following fracture without supervision.
It can be used at home.
It can be molded around the bone
contours of hands & feet.
Effective more for distal extremities,
Most effective method of application is the bath
method, which limits accessibility for other
body parts to be treated.
No method of temp control once applied.
Heating lasts only about 20 minutes.
The bath must be cleaned regularly & emptied at
least twice a year.
Contamination of oil may occur by atmospheric
True and False
Paraffin wax is a source of moist heat
Paraffin wax has high thermal
conductivity so comfortable to patient
Choose the best answer
In paraffin wax therapy a mixture of
melted Paraffin and mineral oil is
used with a ratio of
a) 1 part wax to 4 parts oil
b) 2 part wax to 4 part oil
c) 4 parts wax to 1 part oil
d) 4 parts wax to 2 parts oil