What Is a Paraffin Spa?

M.C. Huguelet

A paraffin spa is a device used to heat paraffin wax so that it can be used for therapeutic purposes. It generally consists of a heating element and a paraffin tub housed in an exterior casing that features power controls and an electrical plug. To use one of these spas, paraffin is heated in the tub and the desired body parts are repeatedly dipped in the wax until it coats the skin. Paraffin spa enthusiasts hold that these devices can moisturize the skin and soothe joint and muscle pain. In order to prevent injury when using a paraffin spa, it is important to follow product instructions.

A manicurist giving a person a paraffin wax treatment.
A manicurist giving a person a paraffin wax treatment.

The structure of a paraffin spa is somewhat similar to that of a slow cooker. It typically consists of a rectangular or oval-shaped inner tub and a concealed heating element, which are encased within a plastic exterior casing. The front of this casing normally features a power button as well as lights that indicate when paraffin is ready for use. Most paraffin spas are powered by an electrical cord that extends from the exterior casing.

A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.
A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.

To operate a paraffin spa, users place a block of paraffin wax in the unit’s tub and then turn on the power. Once it has been turned on, the unit’s heating element warms the wax until it reaches a thin consistency, but is not yet hot enough to burn the skin. When the wax has reached the appropriate temperature, usually indicated by a light on the spa’s exterior casing, the desired body parts, such as the hands, elbows, or feet, are submerged in the wax several times, creating a thick coating. This coating is allowed to harden on the skin for approximately ten minutes, then peeled off.

There are two primary benefits associated with using a paraffin spa. First of all, allowing layers of paraffin wax to rest on the skin is believed to lock in moisture, making treated areas smooth and soft. Additionally, many beauty professionals hold that the wax’s warmth can help soothe muscle soreness as well as discomfort associated with conditions like arthritis.

It is important to operate a paraffin spa according to manufacturer directions in order to avoid injury. Users should only fill their unit with paraffin that is intended for spa use. Additionally, to prevent burns, users should always test wax temperature before submerging their hands, feet, or elbows in their spa.

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