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DIY Red Light Therapy

The evidence is in – red light is good for you.

Infrared and red light, found at the higher end of the visible spectrum, are extremely therapeutic – soothing skin complaints, alleviating pain, healing wounds, reducing inflammation, and even helping with weight loss.

So far so good, but what if you can’t get to an infrared spa or don’t have the time to book a sauna session?

You could always try one of the many red light devices available on the market, but not everyone has room in their budget to shell out on the latest therapeutic gadgets.

So if you want all the healing benefits of red light (but don’t have the resources or access to conventional therapy techniques), it’s time to get creative.

With the right tools, you can make your own red light device. In this guide, we’ll show you how to safely get your red light therapy at home – outlining the proper safety precautions and giving a rundown of all the equipment you’ll need.

What is red light therapy?

Before we dive into how you can create your own red light therapy, it’s important to briefly outline why this type of natural healing is so beneficial.

If you’ve ever seen a rainbow, you’ve witnessed that visible light falls on a color spectrum. This spectrum ranges from around 400 nm to 700 nm.

Red and infrared light have longer wavelengths (from around 600nm to 800nm), meaning they penetrate the skin but don’t damage our cells.

In fact, not only is this type of light safe for our cells, but it can also trigger their repair and rejuvenation.

By reducing inflammation and encouraging new growth, red light has been used to treat wounds, scars, and other injuries successfully.

It can also reduce pain, particularly pain caused by joint issues, back injuries, and arthritis.

Red light therapy has become popular in alternative health circles in recent years. It’s quickly being viewed as an excellent option for people seeking relief from various ailments (helping avoid prescriptions or surgery). It’s safe, gentle, and generally well-tolerated with few side effects.

You may also hear red light therapy referred to by a different name. It’s also known as:

  • Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
  • Photobiomodulation
  • Near (or far) Infrared therapy
  • Photonic stimulation

It may seem confusing, but all these terms describe the same thing – exposing skin to longer-wavelength light to promote healing.

DIY red light therapy

Once you’ve settled on the benefits of red light therapy, you may be surprised to learn that you can actually forget all the fancy equipment and complicated machinery (if desired). All you need to build your very own red light source is the proper bulb and a suitable clamp or outlet for it.

You can easily pick up infrared light bulbs online or at your nearest hardware store. Some sell for as little as $10 and can range all the way up to $40. Just be sure to buy one that’s CE certified and emits wavelengths of 600nm – 1000nm, as that’s where you tend to get most of the healing benefits.

Next, you’ll need a clamp and bulb guard to set up your light properly. These are widely available and usually priced at around $20. Make sure you buy the right rated clamp for your wattage, and you’re good to go!

DIY sauna

Ready to take things up a notch?

If you’ve ever dreamed of sweating it out in your own personal red light sauna, dream no more!

Sure, you could shell out big bucks for a sauna panel… but why not build it yourself for less than half the price?

If you go the DIY route, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • (2-4) 250-watt infrared bulbs
  • A suitably rated clamp for each bulb
  • A thermometer and a timer
  • A small room or enclosure

You can set up your sauna in a small room, closet, or even a shed – as long as there’s enough room for you to sit and stand comfortably.

Also, make sure there’s adequate ventilation and that you’re not crammed against your heat source. Unsurprisingly, things can get hot, and you don’t want to run the risk of burning yourself!

Insert your bulbs into the clamps and then set them up on shelves or a wire frame. Line them up, space them strategically, and try them out at different heights to give your torso even coverage.

Put your thermometer somewhere that’s easy to read so you can keep an eye on the temperature and stop it from getting too hot. Also, set a timer so you don’t lose track of time while sweating it out.

You also want to make sure there’s somewhere to sit or lie down, so you can rest if necessary.

Staying safe

There’s always the potential to overdo it with any medical treatment, and red light therapy is no different.

While red light is generally extremely safe and well-tolerated, it does act on our skin, and some people may be more sensitive to it than others.

The best approach is to take it slowly. Hydrate while getting your treatment, start with short sessions until you know how it affects you, and always consult your primary caregiver if you’ve any concerns.

If you’re on medication that increases your sensitivity to light, ask your doctor before proceeding.

Do not go beyond 40 minutes for any session. You should also keep any open wounds away from the light as it may increase bleeding.

When it comes to assembling your DIY red light device, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on any equipment and never leave your bulb unattended when switched on. The bulbs will get hot so avoid touching them, and try not to look at the light directly (wear tanning goggles if possible to keep your eyes properly protected).

In summary

Access to effective and safe natural therapies should be available to everyone, regardless of budget or circumstance.

If you’re suffering from skin problems, mood disorders, pain, insomnia, or injury, exposure to red light could help.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to get your red light fix. Options include portable devices, red light blankets, helmets, handheld wands, and even home saunas.

That said, if you want to keep it simple, all you really need is a red light bulb and somewhere to safely plug it in.

Get your red light therapy at home, on your terms, with a DIY device. No one should suffer unnecessarily… especially when the path to relief could be right at your fingertips and as simple as switching on a bulb!

Catherine Morris is a freelance content writer and award-winning journalist. Originally from Northern Ireland, she's now based in Canada where she writes about health, wellness, travel, the environment and anything else that sparks her curiosity.


  1. I bought a red light laser kit with 2 rechargeable batteries from Amazon. It didn’t come with a lot of information is why I am here writing to you, I found you through many times googling. My question is , should the light be very close to the skin? Also mine shuts off after 5 minutes. So I let it rest. It came with glasses to protect my eyes which I couldn’t see through so I had to buy different. I didn’t read that you should use eyewear here. What is your thought?


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