Today, we build an Infrared Sauna!!
What You Need to Know
Cost: Just over $100
Time: 30 minutes
How to Build an Infrared Sauna
In this video, I show you how to build a quick and affordable ($~100) DIY Infrared (NIR) sauna.
DIY Sauna Materials:
- (2) RubyLux Infrared Bulb NIR-A Near Infrared Individual Bulbs
- (2) Philips 415836 Heat Lamp 250-Watt R40 Flood Light Bulbs
- (4) Woods 0166 18/2 SJTW Brooder Clamp Lamp w/ Bulb Guard & 10-Inch Reflector, 300-Watt, 6-Foot Cord
- ***You may also want some tanning bed goggles or some sort of eye protection just from the brightness of the bulbs.
- ***Check with your doctor before hitting up an infrared sauna 🙂
Why Build (instead of buy) an Infrared Sauna??
To be honest, I draw the line at “DIY” on a lot of things. Like a barbell. I’d never build my own barbell.
Now, with a sauna, it’s worth giving it a shot.
Infrared Saunas can cost anywhere from $1,500 – $5,000+. So I decided to build my own before going “all in” and buying one of the more legit/permanent saunas for my house.
Until I get some of these questions answered, I will stick with the DIY route:
- Is it something I enjoy?
- Is it something I will actually do every single day?
- Do I see any benefits from regular sauna use?
This option is super-affordable and gives you the way to test out how you react to sauna use and infrared saunas in general.
Infrared Sauna Benefits
The list of benefits from sauna use and studies to back them up are long!
Some studies have shown benefits of infrared sauna therapy for people with:
- cardiovascular disease
- high blood pressure
- congestive heart failure
- rheumatoid arthritis
- chronic fatigue
- poor digestion
- depression and anger
- chronic muscle and joint pains
Here are just a few studies to back up those claims:
- Saunas and Chronic Pain — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16088266
- Saunas and Diabetes — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20569036
- Saunas and Arthritis — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18685882
- Saunas and The Heart — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15564698
Differences in Infrared Saunas
One thing you have to know about this DIY project is that we have built a Near-Infrared Sauna (NIR).There is also Far-Infrared Saunas and Full-Spectrum infrared saunas. I built this sauna after having a conversation with Bob Troia, who explains the differences in infrared light in his article (excerpt below).
What’s the difference?
Near infrared saunas: Near infrared (NIR) penetrates deepest into the body. It’s a bit of a combination of heat therapy and light therapy. NIR is great for detox, boosting the immune system, and wound healing.
Far infrared saunas: FIR saunas using heating elements to emit their (invisible) light and do not penetrate as deeply as NIR. They provide detox and relaxation benefits and have been shown to aid in lowering blood pressure.
Full spectrum: Emit near, mid and far wavelengths independently, and each can be adjusted independently for desired benefits.
Bottom line: NIR Saunas are super-affordable and you still get a ton of benefits from daily use.
Infrared Saunas and Athletes
Now, why should athletes care about saunas beyond some of the health benefits listed above??
In short, heat acclimation and hyperthermic conditioning!!
According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, being heat acclimated enhances endurance by the following mechanisms (source)…
It increases plasma volume and blood flow to the heart (stroke volume). This results in reduced cardiovascular strain and lowers the heart rate for the same given workload. These cardiovascular improvements have been shown to enhance endurance in both highly trained and untrained athletes.
It increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles, keeping them fueled with glucose, esterified fatty acids, and oxygen while removing by-products of the metabolic process such as lactic acid. The increased delivery of nutrients to muscles reduces their dependence on glycogen stores. Endurance athletes often hit a “wall” (or “bonk”) when they have depleted their muscle glycogen stores. Hyperthermic conditioning has been shown to reduce muscle glycogen use by 40%-50% compared to before heat acclimation. This is presumably due to the increased blood flow to the muscles. In addition, lactate accumulation in blood and muscle during exercise is reduced after heat acclimation.
It improves thermoregulatory control, which operates by activating the sympathetic nervous system and increasing the blood flow to the skin and, thus the sweat rate. This dissipates some of the core body heat. After acclimation, sweating occurs at a lower core temperature and the sweat rate is maintained for a longer period.
To learn more about ALL THAT awesomeness, watch her explain it (and take notes):
And that’s it!!
If you are paying close attention, you will realize that exposing yourself to extreme temperatures is amazing for the body. Cold exposure can help you produce more brown fat and burn more energy as opposed to storing it, as white fat does. And exposing yourself to heat can do all that is listed above.
Bottom line: STOP being comfortable. Get out into the world, sweat, shiver and get comfortable being uncomfortable.
To becoming better,