Paraffin Wax Treatment for Feet

woman foot in paraffin bath at the spa
Close-up of woman having a paraffin wax treatment done to her feet. (Image: dnberty/iStock/Getty Images)

A paraffin wax "dip" or "bath" is a soothing treatment in which the feet are submerged in a warm mixture of paraffin, a petroleum-based wax, and mineral oil. This warming treatment soothes aching joints and improves circulation, and the combination of oil and wax softens rough skin. Massage therapists can use paraffin dips to relieve joint stiffness, while spas and salons often include them before pedicures.

How It Works

The wax, solid at room temperature, is heated to between 123 and 125 degrees in a foot bath. The feet are then submerged, either one at a time or together. After a few seconds, the feet are removed from the bath and the wax hardens slightly when it hits room temperature air. The feet are dipped three to six more times to form a thick layer of wax, and then allowed to dry for 10 to 15 minutes. The wax is then peeled or rubbed away and the used wax is discarded.

How It Helps

The wax traps heat near the skin, which penetrates to stiff and aching joints. This warmth also improves circulation to the feet. The wax and mineral oil softens rough skin, making it an ideal preliminary to a pedicure or a relaxing treatment for those who work on their feet for long periods. It is also used as a therapeutic treatment for arthritis, muscular pain or joint sprains.

Who Should Avoid It

Since the wax in a paraffin treatment needs to be very warm, it is not recommended for children, very elderly people or anyone who is sensitive to high temperatures. It can also be dangerous for those with limited sensation in their feet, including people with diabetes or vascular disease.

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