Sauna Health Benefits and How To Make Your Own DIY Sauna

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This is in no way to be taken as medical advice, but rather information that can be used to discuss options with your doctor. Always seek medical advice before trying something new for your health. 

I wanted to share my favorite thing that is helping me get through this hard time right now – my infrared sauna! 

In this article I will discuss:

>The Types of Saunas

>Benefits of an infrared sauna 

>How the sauna has helped me

>How to create a DIY infrared sauna

I first learned about the benefits of an infrared sauna listening to the podcast Joe Rogan. He’s my favorite and loves being super healthy so I began researching more about this type of sauna therapy. 

I then learned that my therapist had built a DIY infrared sauna and when she sent me pictures, I knew my husband could build one. I have had mine for a couple of months and it has not disappointed me. It really came in handy and helped me through my last thyroid flare. 

Types of Saunas 

  1. Infrared 
  2. Steam
  3. Dry

Infrared Sauna is a type of heat that penetrates your body and as I say, warms you to the bone (1). Dry sauna’s heat what air surrounds you and a steam sauna boils water around you to create a steam effect (1). Since I am cold all the time, an infrared sauna is the best choice and it has other health benefits. 

I jump into my sauna after I have a bath. I tend to still be cold after taking a hot bath due to the cold air hitting my wet body. The best feeling is going into the sauna and the feeling of being warmed to the bone. If I feel cold throughout the day, I can jump in and instantly I feel like I am getting a warm hug. 

Benefits of Saunas

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Many people suffer from RA and have stiff joints and excruciating pain in their hands, feet, etc. There was a trial conducted that showed infrared sauna helped decrease the pain and stiffness (2). In addition, the outcome also showed that the time spent in the sauna helped decrease fatigue. 

Cardiovascular Health

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States (3). There have been several studies conducted that have concluded that sauna therapy can be beneficial to some patients that have cardiovascular problems. However, you should always discuss the use of a sauna with your doctor before use. 

There are many articles of Pub Med that discuss the benefits of sauna use with individuals who have cardiovascular health issues. In one article, it was noted that regular use of a sauna had a positive impact on coronary risk factors, improving vascular function (3). 

Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

Sauna use has been found to positively benefit those that suffer from chronic pain and even phantom pain from having an amputation (3). In addition, it was shown that runners with damage to their muscles after longer runs, found sauna use improved their pain (3). 

Depression

I am a huge advocate for promoting healthy mental health. So if you are suffering from depression, please build yourself the sauna I am about to show you. In one study, those with depression suffering from insomnia showed improvement after the continued use of a sauna (3).  

Other studies have shown sauna use to help improve metabolism, sleep, stress, COPD, and detoxing heavy metals (4). 

How a Near-Infrared Sauna Has Helped Me

Keeps me warm

As I explained above I am cold all the time. I have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism and that means I have a hard time regulating my body temperature. This has been the best method for keeping me warm. 

Helps my pain

I often have facial, shoulder, and back pain. It seems to flare up when I eat dairy or gluten which is why I tend to stay away from those ingredients to reduce inflammation in my body. 

Reduces the time I am in a thyroid flare

I know I am having a flare-up when I start feeling fatigued and overall crappy. This often happens in times of increased stress from work or personal matters. 

Mood Boost

If I jump in first thing in the morning, I have a boost in my mood. I feel cleansed and ready to go. Imagine the feeling you get when it is summer and you step outside. The feeling of the sun warming your body. Well, that is what I feel when I spend time in my sauna. This really helps in the wintertime when I feel blah from lack of vitamin D. 

Detox

My husband and son both had the flu this year. Guess what I did not have the flu or have any colds. I feel the sauna therapy in addition to my vitamin intake has helped boost my immune system. 

How to Make a DIY Sauna

Outside view of my infrared sauna

PVC Pipe Frame

The frame is put together with PVC pipe you can pick up at your local home store. You will need to measure the space where you want to put the sauna in your home to determine the size. Mine is about 5 foot tall and 2 foot wide. I put mine in the corner of my bedroom so I can jump in after a shower or bath. 

Emergency Blanket

Emergencies blankets surround the PVC frame. My husband tied the blanket material around the PVC pipe to secure it in place. 

Emergency blanket pinned together at the corners along the top

Two Wood Boards 

You will need two boards long enough to put the lights in place. As you can see there is one longer board connected to a smaller one at the base for support.

3-4 light holders and near-infrared lights

You can see the placement of my lamp clamps and near-infrared lights. I have three attached to the boards that are plugged into a electrical power strip. I love the RubyLux lights and they have really good reviews.

Without the lights on so you can see the structure

Bench/Seat

You will also need something to sit on where the light can hit your body. I put an old desk chair in mine and sit with the back on the side so the light can hit the necessary part of my body. A small stool would work great.

Sauna with the lights on

When I use mine I sometimes rotate the chair around, spending 5 minutes on each side. Sometimes I feel like only doing my back when I have a lot of back pain. Make sure you are not sitting too close to the bulbs. I would say 2 arms length away is sufficient.

In all the sauna cost $175 to put together. Most of the money was spent getting the right bulbs. Make sure you don’t just buy heat bulbs from your hardware store because they are not the same. 

Do you have a sauna? Let me know what benefits you have seen using it on a regular basis. 

References:

1 – https://www.healthline.com/health/dry-sauna-benefits#vs-steam-rooms

2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18685882

3 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935255/

4 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775/

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