How To Add NIR To ANY FIR Sauna (cheap DIY full spectrum sauna hack?)

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In this how-to guide, we’ll go over how you can add near infrared to any far infrared sauna (new or old). Many people hesitate to buy a $3,000 heat lamp tent sauna, which are often uncomfortable and you have to crouch down to get in and out. Some people love them, but I’m not a huge fan of them, especially when you can add the same bulbs to any far infrared sauna for around $100 dollars.

This tutorial will show you where to buy the parts to make this yourself, how to install the bulb fixtures, and also how to customize the setup so you can have everything on remote switches. This way, you’ll be able to turn on the NIR whenever you like from inside the sauna.

Watch the video:

Build A DIY Full Spectrum Sauna On The Cheap?

Some people are looking to build a full spectrum sauna at home, which is what this will give you in some fashion.  However, for clarity, I still think you need dedicated far infrared to get a good full body sweat. These “near infrared” bulbs they use in heat lamp saunas can be a good addition for other things, but using just this for you entire sauna experience has been less than stellar in my experience. (*you’ll have to watch my other videos on NIR saunas to understand why I put that in quotes, and why I’m not a fan of having to add supplemental heat to tent saunas.)   

How To Make Any Far Infrared Sauna, Have Near Infrared (for $100 bucks)

This is the how to guide on how to add near infrared to any far infrared sauna brand for around $100 dollars. Many people have requested this, since most NIR heat lamp saunas are thousands of dollars, along with PBMT red light therapy devices also being fairly expensive (which I do recommend btw). Using these parts, you can simply mount the same near infrared bulbs used in the heat lamp saunas, in your far infrared sauna. You’ll be able to comfortably enjoy your PBMT therapy, without crouching down in a little tent sauna…. and it won’t break the bank!

Here’s the NIR modification parts list used in the installation video:

You can also find this exact same list in the YouTube description of the video, if you’re on mobile it might be easier to click right in the app.

Surface Mount Socket:

I used old screws I had laying around, but any 1″ wood screws like these should do –

Leviton Plug:
Power Strip:

Remote Outlet Switches:

My switches
More options

Socket Extensions: (most people should use the 2″ option)


Near Infrared Bulb Choices:

Industrial Performance

Other parts you may want:

Power strip
Wire nuts
This might be easier for some people
Electrical Tape

*Disclaimer: this is not endorsed by any sauna company. This is a custom modification you do at home. No sauna company sells this kit, nor would they suggest putting 200+ degree heat lamp bulbs within arms reach for liability purposes. Some sauna companies will not like you doing this, others will love it. For those who cannot afford high end PBMT red light therapy devices, this should get you by. This video is not to be a debate between sauna companies, it is simply a tutorial on how to install them if this is what you’re looking for.

** Additional disclaimer: I mention several times in the video, if you’re going to put children in your sauna, do not use long extensions to mount heat lamp bulbs down low. These bulbs get super hot near the surface at a distance of 10″ or closer, so you want to keep them up high near the ceiling and out of reach of children. I know this is common sense and I don’t really need these disclaimers, but for people who skim the videos and don’t watch the whole thing and don’t hear me say it 3 times in the video…

How To Build A Near Infrared Heat Lamp Sauna – Should You Even?

I don’t recommend building a near infrared tent sauna, unless you’re going to construct an insulated (or at least reflective) enclosure. Generally for sweating purposes, you’re going to want a full body sweat that doesn’t take an hour to achieve. In order to get this out of heat lamp saunas alone, you’ll have to rotate like a rotisserie, and even then you won’t get your legs sweating without additional bulbs or supplemental heat. (an additional heater besides the bulbs)

For this reason, the near infrared Dr. Wilson style saunas I built did not work very well, and I don’t recommend them.

Instead, I recommend you purchase a far infrared sauna that’s low emf from the certified sauna list, and then add NIR red light therapy to it in whichever way suits you.

You will be a LOT more comfortable in a stand up wooden sauna with a glass door, compared to a tent you have to crouch down and get in. And as we all know, if it’s not enjoyable or is uncomfortable, you’re not very likely to use it consistently. That was one of my other issues with every tent sauna or lie down unit I’ve tested.

If you have configuration questions on these near infrared heat lamp saunas, use the comment system below and I can make addendum’s to the list for you.

What About Clamp Lights And A Stick To Use In Your Shower?

My first iteration of a Dr. Wilson NIR design, was nothing more than some clamp lights screwed to a dowel rod.

I do not recommend simply clamping heat lamp domes to a stick, and hanging it over you. They had a tendency to slip off when I did this, but maybe I’m just clumsy with them? What I did instead, was take off the clamp portion, and screw the fixture directly to something.

Even when I did get this to work, you run into it not heating you very well because you’re not in an insulated enclosure.  I suppose this is still better than nothing if it’s all you can for the time being, but in the future I would suggest improving your setup to get better sweats in far less time. The DIY Sauna has taken a lot of turns over the years, and most didn’t work well except the final design.

Update: 12/05/2020 the DIY infrared sauna tent course is now live for folks who can’t afford a stand up wooden sauna, or live in a small space like I was.

11 thoughts on “How To Add NIR To ANY FIR Sauna (cheap DIY full spectrum sauna hack?)”

  1. Dear Matt
    I have a Dynamics 3 person Infrared Sauna . Saw a video you made showing the high EMF on such models because of unshielded wiring .I am dealing with Cancer and low income so feel I am stuck with the model I have.
    Did you come up with any retrofits I can do to improve this unit.
    Thanks in advance .

    • Hi Marshall,

      Three person won’t be as bad as what you saw in my videos, because it’s a lot larger. Just sit in the middle if you’re worried about it, that will create some distance between you and the source, and give it a chance to dissipate. You’ll be alright…

      As far as retrofits, there isn’t much you can do about the magnetic fields. You could shield the electric, but I don’t know if it would be worth your time. You could add bulbs like this if you wanted to incorporate something like that… but sun exposure will give you what you need too.

  2. Would you buy a Bluewave Yukon and try to bring down the EMF or is it too hard? BlueWave SA1309 Yukon-Cedar 2 Person FAR Infrared Sauna With Carbon Heaters is the model, thanks – Jon

  3. Jon I have a 3 person wet sauna. I would like to add the infra red option to it as well as keep the wet sauna. Is this an option? I am able to use both to get a better sweat from the steam, as well as the other benefits from the infra red? Thanks

  4. Thank you for the info, Matt. Just wading my way through all the confusing bits of information.
    I purchased 4 infrared lamps at our local farmers supply to use with my self build sauna board. Unsure if they were actually emitting NEAR infrared I contacted the company “InterHeat” inChina and they said their lamps were far infrared lamps used in pig farming. So red heat lamps are not automatically all NEAR infrared I learned. Is that correct? How would you determine that the red bulbs you buy are actually NEAR as opposed to FAR IF if the package does not specify???
    Thank you for cleaning that up for me.

  5. Hi Matt –
    Just wanted to say that I followed your instructions and watched the video. I added 2 NIR bulbs to my FIR unit and I absolutely love it. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together and for the links to the products you used. I use both NIR and FIR at the same time – the sauna heats up much quicker and I really like the feel of the combined heat from the ceramic heaters and the NIR bulbs. For me, this was the perfect solution to what I was looking for.
    Best regards –

  6. Matt,
    Because of budget I went with a 3 person Maxxus sauna. It was fairly easy to put together, but we are having trouble getting it to go above 125 degrees. We assembled it in our basement which is about 65 degrees most of the time. So I’m going to install the NIR lights in the corners like your video shows hoping this will help with temp and heat up time. Should I also be putting some sort of insulation on the top of the sauna to help retain heat? if so what do you recommend using?
    Thanks in advance for any help!


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