11.1 min read

Make Your Own Sauna. DIY Infrared Sauna in an afternoon!

nfrared Sauna DIY Cheap

I’m going to teach you how to create your own sauna, benefits comparable and exceeding the expensive saunas that are usually in the $8,000 range, for just $150 or less.

As a therapist I appreciate the benefits, as a financial therapist, I appreciate the cost-effectiveness and self-care focus.

It is easy, can be created in an afternoon and you don’t have to be a handyman to get it completed!

First, I want to discuss some sauna benefits. If you already know all of this, skip to the bottom of the page for the “how-to” section.

Infrared sauna health benefits

  • better sleep
  • relaxation
  • detoxification
  • weight loss or weight balance
  • relief from sore muscles
  • lower blood pressure
  • localized blood circulation
  • encourages the removal of dead skin cells
  • fatigue reduction
  • supports recovery from chronic health problems
  • offers increased oxygen-rich blood
  • often, an infrared sauna imparts skin glowing
  • relieves muscle tension
  • is said to boost the immune system
  • reduces the size of fat cells
  • reduces profuse sweating which might be uncomfortable for some people
  • will increase the ability to sweat and purge sweat glands and skin
  • takes just a few minutes for benefits
  • increases metabolism
  • addresses some high blood pressure
  • may help with chronic heart failure
  • addresses rheumatoid arthritis discomfort
  • supports the nervous system
  • boosts circulation
  • reduces muscle spasms, including restless leg syndrome
  • supports the removal of metabolic waste products
  • reduces chronic pain
  • fosters burning calories, effortlessly
  • relief from joint pain such as arthritis and other inflammation
  • clear and tighter skin
  • improved circulation and cardiovascular system
  • help for people with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • A feeling of lightness and flexibility (after a few sessions)

In fact, for most of these to be ongoing responses, it is said you need to have at minimum, weekly sessions in an infrared sauna. While spas are nice, most people can’t visit a spa weekly. Many people don’t have the space for a bulky sauna and even more, people don’t have an extra eight grand to invest.

I realize that are many cheaper versions and upon research, they are really not worthwhile and it would be throwing your money away.

There’s a simpler, more effective way to get infrared sauna benefits and wellness; infrared sauna therapy doesn’t have to be far-fetched.

infrared Sauna DIY Cheap

Is an Infrared Sauna better than a Traditional Sauna?

Is there anything better than a 20-minute sweat in the sauna? It relaxes you, helps soothe muscles, and helps you feel more comfortable. In some cases, an infrared sauna can offer the benefits of a sauna without sacrificing the heat of the sauna. Infrared saunas do not warm up the atmosphere surrounding them, unlike traditional saunas. Instead, they use an infrared lamp (a type that uses electrical energy) to heal your body with indirect energy. That being said I’m going to teach you how to get the best of both worlds for less than $150.

Infrared saunas were developed as a more efficient alternative to a traditional sauna. They are more efficient on many levels; first, it is not about heating up the air around you which can be time-consuming and expensive. It is cleaner with no steam thus no mold worries. It is more comfortable, you won’t feel like you are steamed and wilted broccoli in a pot on the stove.

Cancer and Infrared

I need to bring this up as this was the ultimate motivator for me. My husband and I had been toying around with getting a sauna for over a decade, but we could not decide what to get and we never really invested focused time into learning more. It was one of those “we should do this one of these days” conversations.

We had enjoyed saunas at gyms, spas, on cruise ships, and friends’ homes, and so we were not new to the sauna experience. In fact, the variety was what had us a bit confused and overwhelmed.

More about that later. The game-changer though, was when my husband was diagnosed with cancer.

Now, I am not making any claims, nor am I an oncologist.

This is not medical advice.

However, the cancer diagnosis sent me into a flurry of online research, and what I’ve read seems to make sense.

Healthcare settings

In some healthcare settings, heat treatments – infrared and non-infrared – are used to treat cancer. That is a fact. That treatment sometimes is for measurable results and sometimes for emotional benefit (relaxation) which creates a positive physiological response. Heat can eradicate cancerous cells (when very powerful, more than a traditional home set up) however at the expense of all cells. The abrasiveness of heat treatments is such that they end up hurting normal cells and cancer cells. The more intense treatments are of course when the latter outweighs the risks of cancer. I am bringing this up to outline the potential benefits of saunas on the home front.

Infrared heat is said to be an ideal cancer treatment because it increases body temperature without exposure to the harmful ultraviolet spectrum. Current research conducted on infrared heat demonstrates how it can selectively kill off cancer cells, allowing normal cells to withstand the infrared heat and to remain unharmed.

Using infrared saunas as a cancer preventative

What I have read is that an infrared sauna is most effective, at least as it pertains to cancer, is in prevention. This was also important to me as I actually had a cancer scare during my husband’s first six months of having cancer, and all I kept thinking is “I have to be healthy for him”, so prevention is a huge part of this decision to create a sauna for us.

As mentioned earlier, infrared heat initiates cellular heat stress. Cancer cells are said to get killed because they can’t adapt, as opposed to our non-cancer cells which can adapt. I am under the understanding that for the most part, one must be injected with a drug for actual tumor treatment – sources for that information span cancer.gov and the UMass Medical School.

Cancer-promoting hormones and carcinogens reside in fatty tissue (as well as other tissues). The more fatty tissue carried often, the more likely there will be cancer residing in the body. Infrared saunas can help you lose weight, burning approximately 500 calories per 30-minute session. Not bad for sitting and relaxing. Sold!

Cancer also tends to surface in lower circulation areas of the body, where there is less oxygen movement. A sauna can help bring more oxygen and circulation to these areas, often.

Can getting an infrared sauna directly kill cancer – no. Can it assist in cancer treatment or in cancer prevention – often, yes. I believe it can help and there are journals of scientific evidence supporting this. That being said – this is not medical advice and you should discuss this with your physician and if you have one, an oncologist.


I’m going to give you options, plus exactly what I used.

Eye safety is important, so use a good UV-protecting pair of sunglasses and do not look directly at the light(s) or get the following to keep in the sauna.


I wanted to give you three options.

First, let’s discuss costs.

  • One micro-budget option (because they are all budget options!) is $50 or less and just uses only a closet space. It is actually closer to $35!
  • Then, there are the exact materials and quantity that I used which are over $150 but not by much- it came to about $185. Still a far cry from an $8,000 sauna that was bulky and not even offering as much heat benefits.
  • The alternative option which if you use a one-bulb setup, you are looking at no more than $62, and this is a great beginner set-up! However, some people want to begin with two bulbs. This will tag on another $30, for about $92 and then if you go with three bulbs it will still be well under $150.

Read through it all.

What I love about my set-up.

We have the ceiling tracking for the sauna “curtains”. We placed this in our workout room which has a cellerciser, a treadmill, a rowing machine, and numerous items like weights, balance balls, yoga mats, and a bench.

This means that if I want a more open feel in my workout room, I just push the curtains open!

You can’t do that with the clunky wooden sauna.

  • We made it big enough that we can practice yoga in there for a warm yoga session with sauna and yoga benefits.
  • It is large enough to be comfortable too, as a couple, relax and soak up the healing rays.
  • Even if you feel you are not dehydrated or incredibly sweaty, you still need to drink water. Hydrate and help your body cleanse and repair.
  • Begin in short spurts. I am speaking for 3-5 minutes because at first, you might feel sensory overload or apprehensive. You also need to make sure you know how your physical body reacts as well as your emotional body.
  • Work up to 15-20 minutes a day or three times per week.
  • For fun: Make sure you have music. We find relaxing music just adds a layer of healing that just melts away the stress that accumulates from the news, life challenges, the pandemic, and so on.
  • There is research that there may be benefits in using infrared saunas in the treatment of COVID but this is not at this juncture, scientifically proven; it is worth keeping up on the research though.


  1. Put up the curtain tracking system on the ceiling. This is the hardest part. This takes about a half-hour.
  2. Put up the “wall” blankets. I used 1.5 blankets. I just used tape to set them in place initially. (you can staple or thumbtack them after you place them)
  3. Hang the curtains (after you reinforce them) We used three.
  4. We “hung” the lights on an old coat rack. No wall or ceiling hanging is needed, plus it allows us to be flexible in moving the lights in the sauna area or in a closet if we want to put them away temporarily.
  5. A bench that is not metal. We use a storage bench that has fitness equipment, extra towels, and “emergency” water bottles.
  6. We placed a couple of towels and one comfortable indoor/outdoor pillow on the bench. The pillow is wipable to stay clean and free from bacteria.
  7. Music! We use our phone and apple music.

This should take an hour or less with two people but might take up to two hours if one person is doing everything.

WHAT I USED (I went larger)

I used three of these. When I bought them, they were in a pack of four, on sale.

I purchased two packs of these. I wanted to make sure my walls were covered enough and that I had enough for curtains.

TIP: Use tape (any will do) to reinforce where you want to hang the “curtain” as these are thin and when pierced, split easily. The tape holds the pierce and we can open and close easily, without fear of tearing.

You will need this type of lamp. These bulbs get HOT. You need the protection and it’s safer.

I did this one, it was about 6 ft on one side, and 8 on the other side, for a larger space.


(Closet Option Below)

This is another brand that has great ratings and the price is right. You need the infrared 250 minimum, for benefit.

An option if you want a larger space, and it’s discounted.

TIP: Use tape (any will do) to reinforce where you want to hang the “curtain” as these are thin and when pierced, split easily. The tape holds the pierce and we can open and close easily, without fear of tearing.

This is the only non -alternative. This lamp is a must. The bulbs get very hot and you need protection.

Here’s a shorter one; you can totally get away with this one. Even if the space is larger and you feel you don’t have enough, just curve it. When you do, it will still reflect the light.

CLOSET OPTION{Less than $50}

From the “alternative” option, choose:

  • One bulb
  • One lampshade
  • One set of four emergency blankets

(you will not need the tracking)

Clean out everything from the closet. Everything.

You might need an extension cord and be sure to roll it away when not in use for safety.

Line the walls of the closet with the emergency blankets. Including the interior of the closet door.

Hang the lamp with the bulb in it.

With the door open, make sure you have a small wooden bench or seat (not metal, that will get too hot) and sit in the ajar space. The emergency blankets will hold some heat and bounce the light for you, in a small space at less than $50!

Another benefit is that you can just close the door and you don’t even have to look at the sauna until you need it next.


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