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UPDATE FROM JESSICA, Summer 2023: It’s been many years since I wrote this post, yet it still remains one of the most popular posts on my site. And for good reason! People want to heal their bodies and they are learning about the power of infrared saunas. In the years since publishing these posts, I have actually purchased two different professionally made saunas. My favorite one is from Therasage and it is by far the most affordable of all of the infrared saunas on the market. I will be publishing a new post about them soon, but in the interim, you can check out Therasage here. You can save 10% off your order (including the saunas) with coupon code DELICIOUS at checkout. 

UPDATE: If you guys would like to learn how to make a multi-lamp unit, check out this tutorial on How to Build a Portable Infrared Sauna.

You guys have probably heard me talk about my near infrared sauna lamp on social media. I’ve mentioned it on Facebook and on Instagram and people are always curious about how I made it and why I use it.

My NTP introduced me to the power of infrared sauna therapy as part of my mineral balancing protocols. If you’re not familiar with mineral balancing and what I’ve been doing to help improve my health, please read my most recent Let’s Get Personal posts, where I go into detail about my health journey as of late:

I try to do two sessions of infrared therapy every day:

  • 20-30 minutes in the morning during my coffee enema. I cannot even tell you how relaxing this is!
  • 20-30 minutes at night right before bed. I get all of my pre-bed stuff done so that I can relax and when I’m done, I can just unplug my lamp, roll over, and go to sleep. Zzzzzz….

Now, I’d love to tell you a little bit about near infrared therapy, but I don’t want this blog post to get super long, so I encourage you to do your own research on it and see if it’s a good fit for you. But, before we get started, I must tell you this:

DISCLAIMER: Due to the FDA and FTC laws on health claims, I need to make this very clear. None of the information in this post is to be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor or certified medical practitioner of any sort. The content shared on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Statements/products discussed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult your own certified health care practitioner before making changes to your current diet or before beginning any herbal or vitamin supplement regimen or exercise program.

Why Near Infrared Therapy Works

John Harvey Kellogg, MD is credited with inventing the near infrared lamp sauna about 100 years ago. At the time, it was not well known or understood as a therapy.

Hot air baths have been used in a variety of cultures for thousands of years. There were Mayan sweat houses, Mexican temescal, Russian bania, Native American sweat lodge, etc. In Europe saunas are more commonly used than here in the States.

In the 20th century, sauna use declined since modern medicine took precedence in treating any form of illness. Over the last 2-3 decades sauna use has started to make a comeback as more people recognize it as a safe and powerful method of detoxifying the body.

Saunas of all types can help the body detoxify. They do this by improving circulation and helping relieve internal congestion.

Heating the body also helps with destroying bad bacteria, viruses, etc. The process of sweating is also very healing, as sweat is a major detoxification event by helping the body eliminate chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins that may have built up in our body.

I want to clarify that I am talking about NEAR infrared today. There are also far infrared saunas, but near infrared is what is considered electromagnetically safer.

If you’re looking for a sauna either to purchase or use in a spa, always look for near infrared, as there are pretty significant differences between near and far infrared. This is from Dr. Lawrence Wilson:

In a near infrared lamp sauna, the wiring is all on one wall, and the rest of the sauna is relatively far from the 110-volt house wiring. In a far infrared sauna, the emitters are scattered throughout the sauna, so the wiring goes all around the sauna, on all its walls. This means there is no place in the sauna that is further away from the electric wiring.

More important, however, is that far infrared saunas emit far more harmful electromagnetic fields. This has to do with the frequencies they are supposed to emit in the 4-15 micron range. This is similar in nature to the emissions from cell phones and portable phones. It is in the microwave spectrum and quite harmful for some people who are sensitive to these frequencies. In fact, in some far infrared saunas, the EMF emissions actually reverse the polarity of the body. I do not have studies to prove this, but it is our observation.

Some companies claim to shield their far infrared emitters, but they cannot get rid of this radiation, as it is a feature of far infrared emission. The only way this type of sauna will not emit a small microwave field is if, in fact, the emitters are not putting out much far infrared radiation. In other words, it really cannot be avoided if the unit is actually putting out far infrared in the amount that they claim it is doing.

Due to the electromagnetic pollution from the far infrared saunas, I would totally avoid them.

For a complete breakdown of the differences between near and far infrared and why near is superior, I recommend this informative post by Dr. Lawrence Wilson.

Some Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

Near infrared therapy has a lot of benefits to the body. According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson:

Near infrared is an antioxidant nutrient, activates the cells, supports metabolic processes and decouples toxins from water molecules. Near infrared is helpful for wound healing and cellular regeneration as well. Near infrared frequencies can also act as amplifiers of other frequencies that are in the vicinity of the heat lamps.

Here are some of the benefits that you may experience with sauna therapy:

  • Skin rejuvenation by helping the skin eliminate toxins.
  • Enhanced sweating, which helps eliminate heavy metals and toxic chemicals.
  • Exercise benefits by helping enhance circulation and oxidation of the tissues.
  • Decongesting of the internal organs by again helping improve blood circulation.
  • Fever therapy (hyperthermia) for infections, by helping the body raise it’s core temperature to help kill bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Can also apply to tumors, radiation poisoning, and mutated cells.
  • Inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system by helping the body relax and move out the the “fight or flight” state that so many of us live in.
  • Improving oxygenation, hydration, and circulation of the cells and organs.

If you haven’t already read it, I HIGHLY recommend the book Sauna Therapy by Lawrence Wilson, MD. It is FASCINATING! You can find it on Amazon.

Safety and Warnings

IMPORTANT NOTE: Infrared therapy is best done when working with a knowledgeable practitioner on a focused mineral balancing protocol. It is NOT advised that you do extensive infrared sessions without being on a mineral balancing protocol. Doing so can often create new problems in the body. I strongly encourage people to consider doing mineral balancing via hair tissue mineral analysis. It is a powerful method of healing the body and really giving your body what it needs for your specific needs.

For more information on HTMA, please read the following articles and listen to my podcasts:

As with all treatments, we need to exercise common sense when it comes to using an infrared sauna or lamp. As always, I am not a doctor and am not giving medical advice. PLEASE consult your physician before embarking on any new detoxification, supplement, etc. protocols.

Some people may find that they have strong reactions to this form of therapy, so it’s best to:

1. Start off slow — don’t spend more than 10-20 minutes per day in a sauna. As your body heals, you may be able to increase this time. I am following the recommendations of my NTP (Lydia from Divine Health) to ensure that I don’t cause any harm to my body.

2. Do not take high-dose niacin or exercise before using the sauna.

3. Make sure you drink lots of water BEFORE the sauna session, as well as after.

4. Make sure you replace minerals that are lost from sweating. Definitely work with a knowledgeable practitioner on this, as minerals are a tricky thing and I do not advise randomly supplementing with a bunch of stuff.

5. Relax after your sauna session and allow your body to readjust. Don’t hop up and get back to your daily activities. This is why I LOVE to do my sauna sessions right before bed.

6. If you are pregnant, you should avoid near infrared lamps as the infrared energy can be harmful to the developing baby.

7. Children under 5 should also avoid near infrared lamps and saunas, as their bodies do not yet sweat well and they can quickly become dehydrated and ill from the heat exposure.

How to Make an Infrared Sauna Lamp

There are a lot of different options when it comes to infrared saunas. There are really large wooden saunas that are super expensive (but awesome). One day, I would LOVE to have one or build one myself.

There are portable infrared saunas, which are much smaller and more affordable. I have not personally tried any of the portable ones and have read mixed reviews on them, as some seem to be using far infrared, not near. I am going to do some more research on them in the future. Will report back on that.

As much as I’d love a large sauna or even a portable one, the cost is prohibitive right now, as is the size, since we just don’t have room in our house for any large saunas at this time.

Someday, when I get to build my own house, I am going to build in space for a big sauna. 🙂 Dr. Wilson has a tutorial on how to build larger saunas at home here and I created my own version (which was easier than Dr. Wilson’s) here.

So, when space and money is an issue, you can make a small single bulb lamp. This is the most affordable option (only takes about $25), takes up pretty much no room, and can have tremendous healing results. The bulbs emit mainly near infrared energy, with a small mount of middle infrared.

These bulbs emit small amounts of red, orange, and yellow invisible light, which are all helpful in drawing energy down into the body and assisting with digestive and elimination organs. I do the bulk of my infrared therapy on my torso, sides, and back, but I also am starting to do some targeted sessions on my thyroid. One of my goals for 2015 is to wean myself off of my thyroid medication.

I did a video on the lamp I made and show you just how easy it is to make. Note, when using the lamp, you will need to shine it on bare skin. It will not work through clothing.

All you need for these single lamps are:

IMPORTANT UPDATE: If you are looking at the lamps from Home Depot, check the wattage on the box. There seems to have been a manufacturing error with Home Depot’s lamps and depending on what part of the country you live in, the lamp may not be rated for 300 watts. In the West it looks like the lamps are properly rated, but in the East they are not. The lamp I have below is rated correctly, but I have had a couple other readers mention that in their region the lamps are not rated for 300 watts.

Home Depot also said they will be remedying the situation, so make sure you check back with them. You could also check other home improvement stores like Lowes, Ace, True Value, and I’m sure there are a gazillion others. You can also find them on Amazon here.

NOTE: As of March 2017, I am still able to find the correct materials for this project at my local (Denver) Home Depot and Lowes, but some people in other parts of the country have said that they are unable to. You are just going to have to check your local stores and see what is available in your area. You can also find them on Amazon here.

Have you ever tried infrared therapy? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your experiences. 

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