Have you been hearing all the health buzz about saunas and red light therapy, but are intimidated by the price tags you see? If so, I’ve got good news! You can build your own red light therapy device to use at home for less than $25; no tools required!
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Before we describe how to build your own red light therapy device, let’s start with why you’d want to have one. The benefits are wide-ranging, from improved circulation, to better wound healing, to skin health, to thyroid support and improved detoxification. And while I’d love to tell you all about it, I really can’t say it any better than Katie Wells, Chris Kresser, or Dave Asprey:
- For an overview of the benefits of red light therapy and how it’s different than sauna therapy, check out this Wellness Mama article about Red Light Therapy.
- If you’re curious about the benefits of saunas specifically, I recommend Chris Kresser’s episode of Revolution Health Radio with Brian Richards. They discuss how sauna can help prevent and reverse chronic disease, why heat therapy works, and how near infrared sauna’s are different from the traditional Finnish dry sauna and saunas that use far infrared technology.
- Another great resource is Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Radio Episode #516 – Light Hacking: Infrared, the Sun, and your Health with the founders of Joovv.
Personally, I found my DIY red light therapy device incredibly helpful when recovering from a fracture in my foot. The injury was slow to heal, and I was eager to get back on two feet! Inspired by research on Treating Sports-Related Injury and Pain with Light Therapy, I started doing 15-20 minutes of light therapy twice a day to promote circulation and healing of the injured bone and surrounding tissue. My foot always felt better after treatment, and I believe it helped accelerate the healing process.
DIY Red Light Therapy
If you want to try red light therapy at home before making a big investment, it is possible! For the most basic setup, you’ll just need two items: a good infrared heat lamp bulb and a clamp light enclosure that can handle 250 Watts or more.
Philips Heat Lamp Bulb: 250-Watt, Medium Screw Base
I chose to purchase my bulbs through SaunaSpace ($10), but you can also find infrared heat lamp bulbs on Amazon, or at your local hardware store for a similar price point.
Woods Clamp Lamp with 10 inch Reflector and Bulb Guard
I purchased this clamp light from Amazon for $10.56 with free one-day shipping for Prime Members! You can also find these at your local hardware store. Just be sure the one you get is rated for > 250 Watts!
That’s it! Just screw in the bulb, clamp the light in a secure place, plug it in, and direct the light at your desired location. And for under $25, you can test out red light therapy for yourself, at home.
A Minor Upgrade (Tools Required)
After a few months of regular use, I got tired of dealing with the clamp. To make it easier, we built a fixed wooden stand that could sit on a table or desk. First, we cut a spare poplar board into two pieces. Then, we angled one edge of each board, so the light would shine in the desired direction when placed on a table or desk. Finally, we drilled a 2 inch hole through the upper board to mount the reflector, and screwed the boards together through the bottom. And voila – now it’s a lot more convenient to use!
DIY Infrared Sauna
If you’re looking to build a higher power infrared sauna for sweating and detoxification, check out these DIY tutorials for materials and ideas:
- Build Your Own Tutorial from infrared-light-therapy.com
- Dr. Wilson’s Infrared Lamp Sauna Plans
- YouTube Instructional Videos: Design Option 1 and Design Option 2
Leaders in Red Light Therapy
If you decide to purchase your own red light therapy device or infrared sauna, here are a few high-quality options:
An Affordable, Handheld Alternative
Lately, I’ve been hearing some good feedback about this handheld red light therapy device from Hooga (affiliate link). At $40, it’s still on the affordable end of red light therapy devices. The photo below doesn’t show it, but the product comes with a power cord that has an on/off switch, making it a very lightweight and portable option.
One potential downside of the Hooga handheld red light therapy device is that it doesn’t come with a stand. So, depending on how you plan to use it, that could be a significant inconvenience. However, similar to the DIY desktop stand I built for my DIY red light setup, you could always build a simple wooden stand yourself.