Physiological fluctuations at low frequency (<0.1 Hz) are prominent in functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) measurements in both resting state and functional task studies. In this study, we used the high spatial resolution and full brain coverage of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the origins and commonalities of these fluctuations. Specifically, we applied a newly developed method, regressor interpolation at progressive time delays, to analyze concurrently recorded fNIRS and fMRI data acquired both in a resting state study and in a finger tapping study. The method calculates the voxelwise correlations between blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) fMRI and fNIRS signals with different time shifts and localizes the areas in the brain that highly correlate with the fNIRS signal recorded at the surface of the head. The results show the wide spatial distribution of this physiological fluctuation in BOLD data, both in task and resting states. The brain areas that are highly correlated with global physiological fluctuations observed by fNIRS have a pattern that resembles the venous system of the brain, indicating the blood fluctuation from veins on the brain surface might strongly contribute to the overall fNIRS signal.