After having such good success with phototherapy in the form of sunlight, halogen, incandescent, 633nm LED, and heat lamp light, I wanted to see what could be done with a little bit more juice. I decided on 808nm laser diodes, they were fairly easy to source and decent power (advertised 300mW per diode.) I messed around with them for a little while, and stuck 5 of them in a probe that I fashioned out of brass and aluminum. I'm blessed to work in a place that has access to lots of fun toys, so I was able to make all the parts in house as well as do a lot of measuring and characterizing.
The max power output I've been able to get out the whole setup is right around 1watt, but that's pushing the diodes pretty hard and probably isn't safe for them long term. Around 700mW is a more realistic value. This is measured optical power output, and it's a good bit of juice. I would typically run the probe with a polyethylene window which cuts it down to around 300mW total.
I've attached an imgur link as well as a youtube video if anyone wants to check out what I've been messing around with. I think the video came out pretty well, that IR x-ray effect is pretty cool As you can see, the laser light penetrates pretty well, not quite through my forearm but definitely through my wrist. I've been experimenting with it on my head, spine, jaw, and a few other areas. It's definitely doing some work.
I've got the motivation to make a more respectable prototype, complete with a better power supply and capabilities for TTL modulation (pulsing capability.) Would anybody be interested in getting one?
808 on the head is not advisable. Good for joints as it goes so deep.