Muscle Oxygen Assessments

Since initial work by Jobsis (1) indicated Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) as a tool for the analysis of muscle oxygenation, more reviews of current applications of NIRS in sport science can be found e.g. in Wolf et al. (2) and Grassi and Quaresima (3). The basic premise is that muscle oxygenation is expressed by the haemoglobin oxygenation, i.e. the oxygen content of the red blood cells and this can be measured by optical methods as the oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin components have a different absorption spectrum for near infrared light.

While earlier approaches could measure changes in the oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin concentrations (oxyHb and deoxyHb, respectively) only, advanced methods like spatially-resolved spectroscopy allow the oxygen saturation of haemoglobin SO2 = oxyHb/totalHb to be measured, where the total haemoglobin concentration totalHb = oxyHb + deoxyHb. SO2 is expressed in percentages (%) and the haemoglobin concentrations (oxyHb, deoxyHb and totalHb) are expressed in arbitrary units (as the exact properties of the tissue are unknown).

Equipment Recommendations

We recommend the moorVMS-NIRS, moorVMS-PC software and NP1 probe.

Deep Tissue Oxygenation Monitor

Advanced, deep near infrared spectroscopy monitoring

moorVMS-NIRS | Deep Tissue Oxygenation Monitor

NP1 - Standard moorVMS-NIRS probe
SOFTWARE-VMS-RESEARCH-4VX - Advanced aquisition and analyses functions to collect signals and automate control protocol modules

What Next?

Contact us to discuss your specific needs and to request your copy of our free Application Note which includes a detailed experimental method and practical suggestions. We also offer no obligation on-site visits so you can test the equipment in your facility.


Jobsis, F. (1977)
Noninvasive, Infrared Monitoring of Cerebral and Myocardial Oxygen Suffi ciency and Circulatory Parameters.
Science 198, 1264 – 1267

Wolf, M., Ferrari, M., Quaresima, V. (2007)
Progress of near-infrared spectroscopy and topography for brain and muscle clinical applications.
J. Biomed. Optics 12, 062104, 1-14

Grassi B., Quaresima V. (2016)
Near-infrared spectroscopy and skeletal muscle oxidative function in vivo in health and disease: a review from an exercise physiology perspective
J. Biomed. Opt. 21(9), 091313 (Jul 21, 2016). doi:10.1117/1. JBO.21.9.091313