Scientific Support

Scientific Support

The Effect of Visual Stimuli on Pain Threshold and Tolerance

Tse, M. M., Ng, J. K., Chung, J. W., & Wong, T. K. (2002)


For many hospital patients, the experience brings pain and anxiety. Unfamiliar surroundings, various diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and the sight and sounds of medical procedures exacerbate pain and anxiety.


This study suggests that including a simple visual art intervention, that is carefully selected based on best available evidence, can not only impact patient (and visitor) behavior, but also the overall healthcare experience.

The Effects of Visual and Performing Arts in Health Care

Dr Rosalia Staricoff, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (2001)


The results demonstrated that integrating visual and performing arts into healthcare (settings) reduces the amount of drugs consumed, shortens lengths of stay in hospital, improves patient management, contributes towards increased job satisfaction and enhances the quality of service.

The Benefits of Positive Art

Barbara Schmock, RN, MSN (2010)

The benefit of positive art, usually scenes of nature, has been studied in depth by Roger Ulrich, Ph.D. Studies conducted by him and others indicate that “healing art” images affect the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, brain neurotransmitters, the immune system and the blood flow to all organs in the body. Neurophysiologists have further determined that art connects us to the worlds of imagery, emotion, visions and feelings. This connection can be critical in the healing process.


Other researchers have determined that colors have different effects on emotions and can therefore be therapeutic. Warm colors (red, yellow, orange) can help improve a depressed mood and stimulate metabolism. Cool colors (green, purple, blue) promote calmness and relaxation. A blue, calm ocean scene may be helpful for someone who needs rest and healing. A bright meadow full of yellow flowers could be stimulating for someone who is depressed or someone whose immune system is low.

The Arts of Healing,

M. J. Friedrich, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),

May 19, 1999 

This essay showed that psychologically appropriate art substantially affects such patient outcomes as high blood pressure, anxiety, intake of pain medication, and length of hospital stay. In particular, representational nature art was shown to have a beneficial effect on patients experiencing stress and anxiety.

Creativity and the Arts in Health Care Settings,

Anne Ridenour, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),

February 4, 1998

“Art helps children forget that they are ill while being in a strange place that otherwise might be frightening. Art connects children to delight and discovery and brings back some of the experiences of being a child, not just a sick child.”

View Through A Window May Influence Recovery From Surgery,

Robert Ulrich, Science, Volume 224,

April 1984

A landmark study in 1984 found that post-surgical patients with a view of trees in full foliage versus patients with a view of a brick wall had shorter post-operative hospital stays, required less medication, and experienced few post-surgical complications.