Make Your Own Near Infrared Sauna
We encourage people to use a near infrared sauna on a daily basis to help the body eliminate toxins and warm the core of the body.
We've found proponents of both near and far infrared saunas, and spent hours researching before being convinced about the value of near infrared, which is easy and inexpensive for you to buy and build for yourself. The short answer to what we found is that near infrared does seem to penetrate tissue better (despite claims by both sides) and isn't blocked by water the way far infrared is. Read this article if you want the details we explored.
To build a near infared sauna, you will need a small, enclosed area, not larger than about 24 square feet and ideally even smaller so you can heat it up more quickly and at less expense. We built ours inside our "water closet" (toilet separated from the rest of the bathroom). You could also use a closet if it's large enough and empty. Some people build a small tent-like structure. Whatever you do for the enclosure, make sure it's not built of flammable materials and that you keep flammable materials out of the sauna.
Make sure you have room for the lamps and about two feet of space between your body and the lamps. You want to find a comfortable distance so your skin doesn't feel like its burning and yet you're warming up enough for a good sweat.
Go to your local Home Depot, Lowes, or other hardware store that sells heat lamps (bulbs). These are actually near infrared bulbs, and they only cost around $10 or $12 each. Purchase three bulbs. We recommend the Phillips brand.
These are each 250 watts, so next you need to buy something that can safely run the bulbs without creating a fire hazard. That's why we recommend correctly rated clamp lamps. Look for those rated for 300 watts. These are around $15 each. Here's a page that shows you how to put them together.
Now you just need a place in your enclosure for clamping the lamps. If you don't already have a shelf or something handy, you might consider buying a simple wire rack as we did. Install this on the wall (a couple of simple screws, included) and you have a place for your lamps. Make sure the lamp shade and lamp don't touch the rack, as they will get hot.
Common Sense Warnings
Make sure that you use common sense if building your sauna in a bathroom. Use a power strip that can trip a circuit, and turn off the power strip when not using the sauna. Keep electricity away from sinks and showers.
Also make sure you are physically fit to use a sauna and remain in elevated temperatures. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.
Using Your Sauna
You'll probably need a heater in your sauna, in addition to the lamps. Many heaters can run at 750 watts or less, so that when you run this along with the lamps, you're running 1500 watts -- similar to a hair dryer or a heater set on high.
Using the heater and lamps together, get the temperature up to around 100 degrees before you enter your sauna. Use a thermometer to track temperature. Most people can safely stand temperatures up to 120 or even 130, but you'll probably be able to get in a good 20 to 30 minute sweat before it reaches 120.
You may wish to stand on a floor mat that you can clean, since you will end up dripping a lot of sweat on the floor. Either this or have something to clean your tile floors later. If you have easy access to your shower afterward, this will help you keep things clean, and you can slowly bring down your temperature in the warm water.
We hope you'll use your sauna several times a week or even daily. It's a great way to slow down, meditate or catch up on reading, a truly promote health in your body. Happy saunas!