Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging can be used to investigate, noninvasively, a wide range of biological processes in systems as diverse as protein solutions, single cells, isolated perfused organs, and tissues in vivo. It is also possible to combine different NMR techniques enabling metabolic, anatomical, and physiological information to be obtained in the same experiment. This review provides a simple overview of the basic principles of NMR and outlines both the advantages and disadvantages of NMR spectroscopy and imaging. A few examples of potential applications of NMR spectroscopy and imaging are presented, which demonstrate the range of questions that can be asked using these techniques. The potential impact of using NMR techniques in a biomedical research program on the total number of animals required for specific investigations, as well as the number of animals used in research, are discussed. The article concludes with a personal perspective on the impact of continuing improvements in NMR technology for future applications in animal research.