Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has become established as a powerful tool for qualitative and semi-quantitative analysis of complex mixtures of body fluids, intact cells, tissues and their extracts. Such studies are finding increasing applications in clinical and medical sciences. 1H and 31P NMR provide a noninvasive probe of high-energy compounds, amino acids, and compounds of phospholipid metabolism in cells and tissues. 13C NMR has been used to measure and characterize high concentration of molecules. The introduction of 13C-labeled substrates allows one to follow metabolism by the 13C NMR method. In this review, we have described one dimensional inverse detection techniques and various two dimensional homonuclear and heteronuclear methods with special emphasis on methods for studies of cells. Application of NMR to detect me tabolites in various cells and tissues has been discussed with illustrative examples, to highlight the type of information NMR can provide.