Yes, Therabath paraffin treatments are sanitary even when multiple people dip in the same bath. Here is why:
WR Medical Electronics has sold paraffin units and refill paraffin since 1962 and paraffin therapy has been used in hospitals and clinics for over 90 years. In the 90+ years that traditionally performed paraffin therapy treatments have been administered in hospitals, clinics, spas, and salons worldwide, no complaints of cross-contamination have been logged with the FDA.
Therabath paraffin contains no water, no oxygen, and is maintained at 130 degrees (54 degrees C). High temperature and lack of oxygen and water make a hostile environment for survival of pathogens. A 1996 study by Oregon State University where Therabath paraffin was inoculated with bacteria and fungi concluded “it appears that bacteria and fungi do not survive a long time in paraffin baths”.
When a hand or foot is immersed into melted paraffin, it is instantaneously coated with a layer of solidified paraffin, so what is on the skin stays on the skin. This instant barrier is formed because human skin is 22 degrees cooler than the melting point of the paraffin, and is maintained at or near that temperature by circulated blood, so the paraffin congeals as soon as it touches the skin. Because the barrier forms immediately, germs and dirt on the skin are instantly encapsulated and unable to contaminate the remaining paraffin in the bath during the initial or subsequent immersions, as confirmed by a 2007 lab study performed by R-Tech Laboratories. Additionally, R-Tech performed a “worst case scenario” study where used paraffin was returned to the bath. The results of the “worst case scenario” test support the results of a 1986 University of Minnesota study. For best results, always follow instructions for use that state used paraffin should be discarded.
The demonstration shown below, using blue dye to replicate water based contaminants, illustrates how during a paraffin treatment, what is on your skin stays on your skin:
A clean finger dipped in dye and then immersed in water
You can see how quickly the dye disperses. Stir it, and the dye and water become fully blended
A clean finger dipped in dye and then immersed in Therabath paraffin
The finger is instantaneously encapsulated with solidified paraffin so none of the dye disperses into the remaining paraffin
No matter how quickly you dip, an instant barrier is formed. Even if you stir it, the paraffin glove will not re-melt exposing the dye.
This demonstration illustrates that the contaminant (blue dye) does not disperse into the paraffin bath.
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Last modified: January 7th, 2015.