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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/594

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Bathing in Melted Wax

If your joints are stiff, boiling wax poured over them may bring relief

By the Paris correspondent of the Popular Science Monthly

���THE wax bath is a new idea in medicine and is recommended as a curative measure in a number of ailments, such as rheumatism, various disturbances resulting in skin troubles, inflamed and painful joints, and so forth. Incredible as it may seem, it is possible to pour boiling wax on any part of the human body without causing burns.

The treatment originated with Doctor Barthe de Sandfort of France, who found the wax bath very successful in a number of stubborn cases. The wax he uses is a paraffin composition prepared after his own formula and possesses curative properties which would not be possessed by the ordinary wax candle.

The patient who is to receive a paraffin wax bath is placed in a wicker basket so built that his head is slightly raised. The basket is lined with a material impervious to wax. . When all is ready the hot wax is poured over the patient so that his entire

��Pouring hot paraffin wax over a patient. Note how the wax forms a "kind of plas- ter cast over the legs as soon as applied

At left: The cradle for the partial bath. In this instance the patient's arm alone was coated with wax from elbow to fingertips

body is coated with it, or the part which is to be specially treated. When the wax cools, the patient looks as if he were covered with a plaster cast. After the wax has been poured on, the patient is covered carefully with a quilt, and remains in his wax bath just as long as the physician deems it necessary to bring about relief.

When a patient is taking an entire wax bath, which means when he is covered with hot wax from his chin to his toes, the wax is not quite as hot as when a patient is taking what might be termed a partial bath. That is to say, if a patient is suffering from, say rheumatism in his elbow, he can stand the wax at a slightly higher temperature than he could were it poured all over him, for the simple reason that the skin over the elbow joint is not so sensitive as that of other portions of the body. Doctor Barthe de Sandfort has devised a method for heating his paraffin so that the composition is not altered. The temperature may be varied in greater or less degree, and large or small quantities of paraffin may be heated as it is required for use. The paraffin is heated by steam which is regulated by valves.

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