The tests involved participants who were undergoing bone marrow aspiration biopsy (BMAB), a procedure which is know to be particularly painful for the treatment of cancer and involves inserting a needle into the back of the pelvic bone and drawing out bone marrow.
The researchers split the participants into groups, the first of which were assigned to standard care, the second of which were to have the procedure done with a nature scene and sounds and the third to have the procedure with a city scene and accompanying sounds with all groups having their pain measured during the procedure.
The pain was measured on a ten point scale known as the Hopkins Pain Rating Instrument both before and after the procedure and patients were asked to indicate how uncomfortable they felt with anything above a four classed as moderate to severe pain.
The control group, who had the procedure with neither of the scenes marked BMAD as 5.7 on the pain scale, but the patients in the group exposed to the nature images recorded a significantly lower average of 3.9 on the scale.
The city scene appeared to have no effect with patients finding the treatment just as painful as those in the control group.
The researchers hope hospitals will utilise the study findings as an inexpensive way of helping patients deal with BMAB and other painful experiences.