We investigated slow spontaneous oscillations in cerebral oxygenation in the human adult's visual cortex. The rationale was (1) to demonstrate their detectability by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS); (2) to analyze the spectral power of as well as the phase relationship between the different NIRS parameters (oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin and cytochrome-oxidase; oxy-Hb/deoxy-Hb/Cyt-ox). Also (3) influences of functional stimulation and hypercapnia on power and phase shifts were investigated. The results show that-in line with the literature-low frequency oscillations (LFO) centred around 0.1 s(-1) and even slower oscillations at about 0.04 s(-1) (very low frequency, VLFO) can be distinguished. Their respective power differs between oxy-Hb, deoxy-Hb, and Cyt-ox. Either frequency (LFO and VLFO) is altered in magnitude by functional stimulation of the cortical area examined. Also we find a change of the phase shift between the vascular parameters (oxy-Hb, tot-Hb) and the metabolic parameter (Cyt-ox) evoked by the stimulation. It is shown that hypercapnia attenuates the LFO in oxy-Hb and deoxy-Hb.