Introduction: Light Therapy for Less Than $60.00

Picture of Light Therapy for Less Than $60.00

Near Infrared (IR) Light Emitting Array for Body Detox and Light Therapy

This NIFTY device is good for all kinds of stuff as well as looking COOL! (would go great on the wall above the couch in a hipster loft!)

I decided to post this for winter because we all need a little sun when the sky is gray.

It is well proven that humans and animals respond to certain frequencies of light. S.A.D. is a seasonal type of depression common near the holidays. But Light Therapy is a proven way to counteract this effect by simulating a warm, sunny day. (Makes you smile just thinking about it). And there is much positive research in NEAR INFRA RED.

Its what baby animals are put under when they are born. Its safe, and feels natural. It can't give you a "sun burn" either!

So with that in mind I posed these instructions so anyone can benefit from
Light Therapy which you can use to drive away the "winter blues". And you won't have to spend much money or time figuring out this very simple project.

As soon as you turn it on and bath in the red-orange light you will feel better.

But that's not all!

This project is equally as valid for another reason altogether and can be used all year long as a powerful way of Detoxifying the Body.

This array when placed in a small room like a bathroom or small closet functions as a real SAUNA!

Certain wavelengths of light have "special effects" Near infra red wont heat the air in the room like a traditional sauna, but it will PENETRATE your flesh and provide a calming warming effect.

The light waves go below the suffice of the skin, heating from the inside out.

There are many more benefits of this type of SAUNA over traditional steam saunas, as it is safer and is more effective for detoxing the body!

You may want to add a FIR space heater in the room too raise the air temperature and decrease pre-heating times. The recommended effective temperature range is in the mid 90s to just over 100 degrees F to induce sweating. If you are heating the room that much take care, and remember that SAUNA should not be taken for more then a half hour. And some one else should be at home, who will know to come get you if you are in for too long. You will want to keep a timer and rotate every 5 min. This both keeps the mind and body alert as well as keeps the heat evenly distributed on the body.

Now that you have an idea about how this NILE (Near Infrared Light Emitting) Array works...

Let's Build One!''

Luckily this project is very easy to do. I believe that if you follow the instructions closely and visit all the links in this Instructable, that even some one completely unfamiliar with electrical projects can accomplish this.

And best of all, not expensive either!

Step 1: Supplies:

Picture of Supplies:

This is what I payed. Some stuff you can defiantly get cheaper!

Lamp Cable:15 feet = 5.00

Lamp Sockets @ $1.50: X4 = $6.00

Heat Lamps @ $11.00: X4 = $44.00

Plug-End: 1 = 2.20

Wire-Nuts (marretts): One Bag = 2.00

"Recycled" palette from work (could use plywood) = FREE

I layed out the fixtures in a diamond shape, eye balling it, and drew pencil outlines of the placement.

I figured out the center-points by drawing a cross through them.

I used a 1-inch "Flat wood bit". When I drilled the holes in the wood, with my trusty RYOBI drill (cheap!) from Home Despot. .

Step 2: Simple Construction:

Picture of Simple Construction:

After drilling the holes, attach about a foot of lamp wire to the screws on the back the the fixtures. Remember to attach the ribbed or silver wire to the silver screws.

You have to notice something, one side of your wire will be the ribbed or "silver side". The screws on the fixture will show this pattern as well, and the instructions on the plug-end will mention this too. It is very important to be consistent when you are wiring this. Always wire the silver/ribbed/right wires consistent because it will all come together at the end.

Feed the wire through the hole you drilled and use the supplied screws to attach the fixture from the front. You will probably want to drill some pilot holes (see image notes).

Now is the time where you will connect all the "smooth" wires to one point and all the "ribbed/silver" to another point. Then you will connect these points to the wires going to the plug. If one light goes out the rest will still work because the circuit is in "parallel".

Step 3: Yep, Yer Finnished!

Picture of Yep, Yer Finnished!

That's about it!

To keep the cables from getting pulled I drilled a medium sized hole in the wood, and tied a knot in the piece of wire that would end up being "the power cord". Before attaching the plug end, I tied a knot on the other end too. This keeps the length of the power cord consistent.

Now, just attach the plug end as per the instructions on the box. "Ribbed/silver" side on the right, and then you pinch it closed.

I tested the outlets with a potentially dangerous CFL light bulb by screwing it into each one-by-one and they all checked out, functional.

So that's it. The rest of the pictures are the Infra red array in action! I hope this benefits the people that need it most!



rukidding (author)2013-01-08

@camscam 5/14/2011 actually, most "heat" lamps do not function in the Near IR spectrum. The N.I.R. wavelength is just below the visible light spectrum. NIR lamps provide more light than heat. Far IR lamps, F.I.R., operate just above the U.V. wavelength, Farther away from the visible light spectrum, but above the UV wavelength.
Near infrared lamps warm the surface area and the heat is transferred by conduction. Far infrared lamps are able to penetrate deeper into an object (our bodies) and transfer heat by a process known as conversion.


to the electromagnetic pollution from the far infrared saunas, I would totally
avoid them." -
Lawrence Wilson, MD

I would avoid any expert making such a general claim. Light itself is Electromagnetic pollution or a tool depending on if you are reading or trying to sleep. ever notice how bright a flash light has to be to shine through your hand? it can be done but its a very high output light held right to the flesh. and you might see a dim glow. your cheek is a better place to try it. This demos the concept of Electromagnetic radiation at high frequency not passing very deep into the body. To begin with every time you double the distance from the emiter the power level drops to 1/4th its intensity. combind with the fact that even strong high frequency EM held up to the skin (the flash light) struggles to shine through thin parts... I wouldnt worry much about the 2watts of EM radiation 10 feet from you. its just a bit of background or surface heat from the power supply. also it travels back into the wires better than it does in air and radiates out along the electrical wires.. with all but the best filtering. so if its the specific frequency hes worried about at any power level... This doctor clearrly wouldnt even enter a building with one or work at a hospital wired to the other building with a ir heat lamp. ..or he possibly doesnt know wtf hes talking about in the slightest

very interesting article but Dr. Wilson mixes and matches some of his facts.

Here is a link to more current information regarding EMFs:

This discusses the use of all electrical saunas vs. the older, fire and rocks type. There is a mention in the article about the relative safety of using ceramics vs. other methods to protect us. I know that IR "heat-emitters" use ceramic rather than glass bulbs.

Within the field of health there is still a lot of conflicting information about the types and wavelengths of IR energy. Which ranges are most beneficial or produce the desired results is still confusing.

Michael013 (author)rukidding2015-12-05

3 years old, but still incorrect. UV and IR are at opposite ends of the visible spectrum.

JohnC637 (author)Michael0132016-06-22

Noooo. They're next to each other on the visible light spectrum.

1debrey (author)rukidding2015-01-11

Any one know where to buy the far infrared bulbs?

rukidding (author)1debrey2015-01-12

The big box stores do carry them, not all watts though. Amazon has them, but you have to pay freight. Price range should be under $10 for the 175W and up to about $12 for shatter resistant 250W. You can find them pretty cheap if you google search. Major brands are Sylvania, Phillips, GE and Satco (they use the sylvania lamps and coat them)

camscam (author)1debrey2015-01-11

I got mine at Lowes back in the day. They are a pretty common item. Some walmarts may even have them. If not, for sure the feed store will because they are used in heat lamps for hatching chicks.

rpalmer7 (author)rukidding2015-01-07

Light spectrum goes uv->visible light->near-infrared->far infrared

rukidding (author)rpalmer72015-01-08

Thanks for the correction. I am not sure why I put that there.

Electromagnetic waves between visible light and the microwave are called
infrared waves. The wavelength of infrared waves range from 0.76 micron
to 1,000 microns; this range is further subdivided into the ranges of
Near, Medium, and Far Infrared Rays with following wavelength: 0.76 to
1.5microns; 1.5 to 4 microns; and 4 to 1,000 micr

fvrrljr (author)2017-03-09

Awesome, haven't made it yet. I will be using a stand with wheels. Love the results. My Question is: What about Floodlights that have colored lenses like the GE (General Electric) LED long life / low energy 5 bulbs in 1? What about the PAR30 and PAR38 Floodlights? Then there's Wal-Mart's Pain Management Technology Infrared Light Wand for $30. Do Red LED lights emit the same wavelength?. I've found old articles saying to stay away from them. New research says they can be used.There are plenty of DIY's and Hack site about making your own flashlights and swapping to red led lights. Can red cellophane be used on the white led lights? By the way I've read all Comments. Love Camscam's sarcastic remark "God Forbid ..." "Moral Outrage" comment LMAO.

Great Argument as in Discussion, not argument in fighting. A lot of smart people here asking great questions. Thumbs Up!

saintquinn007. (author)2016-12-08


1) I heard a woman on Rense Radio (owner of who makes these devices) advocate using near infared LEDs....Could someone please comment on LED usage?

2) Has anyone noticed any therapeutic benefits from using this device?

Please reply

SteveB367 (author)saintquinn007.2016-12-28

Don't use LED's.

SteveB367 (author)2016-12-28

How do you tell that these generic heat lamps are NIR?

LookingForHealth (author)2016-11-21

Any chance anyone has a finished product? I'd like to see what people have done. Did you built a "room" or do you use in your shower?

Cedesings (author)2016-04-14

I've just found out that far ibfrared doesn't help rheumatoid arthritis at all. We need the near bukbs to penetrate past the muscle into the joint. The light isn't visible. ☺

WyattsAccount (author)2016-03-23

Are these lights damaging to the naked eye?

halvibe (author)2016-02-04

Thanks camscam! Really nice post. I saw some info on near infrared on Wendh Meyers site _ liveto110. She talks about multiple benefits of using near or for pain relief, detox, etc. It's great to be able to make one this inexpensive.

AmandaG62 (author)2016-01-11

can i ask the reason you used electrical tape on the other 2 instead of the wire nuts?

sindaear (author)2009-12-13

I realize this isn't a site for medical advice but if you are going to make claims that you can use this device for light therapy you should probably do a minimal amount of research on it.  I've never found anything on NIR being used in Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment.  Even the google search link you posted didn't have any links to sites claiming NIR was used for S.A.D.  If you had read your own wikipedia link you would know that the light used for S.A.D. or the "winter blues" is usually either full spectrum white light or light in the blue area of the spectrum, not NIR.  I just don't want people to be misinformed and think that this might do something that it almost certainly will not do.

camscam (author)sindaear2009-12-13

Oh yes, God forbid some one spends a few bucks and a couple hours building a therapeutic heat device based my wildly speculative claims. Thank the heavens you came here to save people.

Have you ever sat in a sauna, hot-tub or taken a hot bath after moping around on a cold gray day?? Why don't you make one and tell me you don't feel better after laying in front of warm simulated sunlight relaxing, versus being in a cold dark room.

sindaear (author)camscam2009-12-14

I don't have a problem with you saying it can possibly make you feel "better" but Seasonal Affective Disorder is an actual medical condition.  Claiming that your device helps people with S.A.D. is like saying you have a device that cures cancer.  You are making a medical claim that has no evidence backing it whatsoever.

camscam (author)sindaear2009-12-14

I think your "moral outrage" would matter more  if I was asking for money or if the cost to value ratio was different.

This thing can literally be made with spare parts and light-bulbs and will give some one the same benefits as something that costs a lot (a home sauna or hot-tub).

I don't have to be a doctor to justify my statements on the effects because they are personally observed and this is a fun project website. Logic would dictate that a heat and light source would counter the affect of S.A.D. which has only recently been recognized as a disorder anyway.

No, I don't believe you run to a doctor to get pills for every little problem. What problem isn't "medical" these days??

Cstll (author)camscam2016-01-01

As a chronic disorder cancer is typed as a 'cold' disease. Hyperthermia is a treatment so me thinks either bulb would not only feel good on a winter eve but garner some physiological benefit as well.

slizzardman (author)sindaear2010-12-02

To be fair here, you have to realize that S.A.D. is primarily a psychological disorder, and cancer is a purely biological disorder. Claiming to help alleviate S.A.D. symptoms is not a claim on the same level as a purported cure for cancer.

However, in defense of the OP: This is a direct cut and past of the abstract for a 1999 study on this very subject. The pub med ID is at the bottom, for those who are interested in checking it out themselves.

He has done a great service by making this information available here, in my opinion, though it would have been far more effective if this study had been linked to his instructable. In my opinion it is very important to attach research to any claims made in regards to any kind of "for sure" effect caused by any particular idea.

Now, on to the research! You will shortly see that there is, in fact, medical evidence supporting the claim that this instructable device can help with S.A.D. symptoms. It took me 15 minutes on PubMed to find this article. There is no research that I could find that refutes these results.

BACKGROUND: Thirty-eight patients with SAD participated in a light visor study addressing two questions. 1. Can the development of a depressive episode be prevented by daily exposure to bright light started before symptom onset in early fall and continued throughout the winter? 2. Does the light have to be visible in order to have beneficial effects?

METHODS: Three groups participated in the study: I (n = 14) received bright white light (2500 lux); II, (n = 15) received infrared light (0.18 lux); III (n = 9, control group) did not receive any light treatment at all.

RESULTS: Infrared light is just as effective as bright white light. Both are more effective than the control condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Light visors can be effectively used to prevent the development of SAD. The fact that exposure to infrared light was as effective as exposure to bright white light questions the specific role of visible light in the treatment of SAD.

PMID: 10418699 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

JuilY (author)2015-04-02

You mention using this setup for detox.

Do you have any way of sourcing non-toxic materials for your build? I've been having a hard time figuring this out.

camscam (author)JuilY2015-04-02

Well, if you use wood that's not pressure treated it wouldn't be toxic. You could probably make something similar using sheet metal in a frame but it would be a lot more expensive.

JuilY (author)camscam2015-04-04

Thanks for the reply. I'll keep an eye out.

folkefiende (author)2015-03-28

Has anyone used one of these in an enclosed shower space? I have a mid 50s home w/ original tile floor-to-ceiling. Curious what the temps would do the tile and grout...

camscam (author)folkefiende2015-03-28

Yea, that's how I was using it. I didn't have any problems with the grout.

ingrid.walker.167 (author)2014-11-20

Let's not get all heated up about this!

rukidding (author)2012-12-15

This is in response to an old post but Infrared is actually light that is perceived as heat. It is below the visible electromagnetic spectrum. All bulbs give off infrared (IR), IR lamps are designed to give off more heat than light. True IR does not give off any light (non-luminous) and are usually sold as ceramic heat emitters. This type can be seen warming reptiles. The 250W bulbs you use probably produce IR wavelengths in the mid to far IR range. Near IR, or NIR, does not give off as much heat but functions at a higher frequency with short wavelengths. Far IR, or FIR are thermal, they give off a lot of heat and function at lower frequencies and has a long wavelength.

grievance13 (author)2011-12-02

This is great. I just ordered the bulbs! I have been tossing around the idea of building a sauna for a while but the kits are ridiculously expensive. This is the perfect blend of low cost and portability.

camscam (author)2011-05-14

Heat lamps are an N.I.R. device.

cam94z28 (author)2011-05-13

How do I tell if the heat lamp is far-infrared or near-infrared?

frollard (author)2008-10-18

Thats really cool - I'd love some data on the benefits of infrared, but good links, good pictures, and good build!

slizzardman (author)camscam2010-12-02

HAHAHA!!! I like this comment. It's sad that with the entire world at our fingertips so many of us can not figure out how to use a simple google search to do our own research.

gmehal (author)2009-10-14

What bulbs are you using specifically for NEAR infrared vs. FAR? I don'tsee any description of that in your instructions: have I just missed itsomewhere? Thanks!

camscam (author)gmehal2009-10-14

I'm using heat lamps that fit a standard light bulb socket. You can findthem at the hardware store or the pet store for about $10. Since Falljust kicked into gear, I'm about ready to start treatments now too!

FAR infra red is like heat from an electric space heater, fartheroutside the range of human vision. NEAR infra red is closer to ourvisible spectrum.

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-12-21

cool! No need for this on CA sunny almost year round : )

Padlock (author)2008-10-18

"Near infra red wont heat the air in the room like a traditional sauna,"

"Heat Lamps @ $11.00: X4 = $44.00"

Is it just me or is anyone else seeing a problem?

camscam (author)Padlock2008-10-19

Wont heat the air but does heat a surface. That's one of the reasons this type of energy is special.

Padlock (author)camscam2008-10-19

Uhh... no. It won't heat it as much, but it will still heat it. Air still has density.

camscam (author)Padlock2008-10-19

You're not being constructive. However you are being too literal.

About This Instructable




Bio: 25/m
More by camscam:Light Therapy for Less than $60.00Simple Method to Crush-Dye t-shirtsMuslin Photography Background
Add instructable to: