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Paraffin Wax for Arthritis - Topic Overview

You can use paraffin wax (may be called either paraffin or wax) to apply moist heat to your hands or feet to ease the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Paraffin especially helps to reduce pain and loosen up your hand and finger joints before exercise.

You should talk with your doctor before trying paraffin at home. And it's a good idea to have a physical therapist show you how to do it before you try it yourself.

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You will need:

  • 4 lb (1.8 kg) of paraffin wax. Paraffin is available in most places where canning supplies are sold.
  • 1 cup of mineral oil. You may be able to find some mineral oil that has a pleasant scent such as wintergreen.
  • Equipment for melting the wax. You can use a paraffin bath, available from a medical supply store, or a Crockpot or double boiler. If you use a Crockpot, a small one works fine for your hands. You'll need a large one if you want to do your feet.
  • A candy thermometer (if you're using a Crockpot or double boiler). If you get a paraffin bath from a medical supply store, it should have a thermometer.
  • Plastic wrap or plastic bags.
  • Terry cloth towel.
  • Rubber bands or tape.
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