The principles of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy were explained and its application to biomedical research discussed. With /sup 31/P-NMR, it is feasible to conduct a continuous, non-invasive measurement of the contents of myocardial high-energy phosphate compounds and the intracellular pH (determined by monitoring the pH dependent shift of the inorganic phosphate peak relative to that of creatine phosphate), and to correlate them with the mechanical function. The determination of the free magnesium concentration is also possible on a similar principle to that for pH determination (the shift of MgATP peaks relative to ATP is utilized in this case). It is estimated to be 0.3 mM and was found not to be changed during ischemia. Several examples of studies including our own conducted to delineate the ischemic derangements of the myocardial energy metabolism and the effects of various interventions thereupon were illustrated. Finally a brief mention was made of the saturation transfer technique. This is the only method with which one can study the kinetics of the enzyme reactions under in vivo conditions. The application of the method for analysis of the creatine kinase reaction and the ATP synthesis was demonstrated. (author) 49 refs.