Background: This review focuses on the application of technologically advanced methods of audiovisual distraction as adjunct analgesic techniques; more specifically, (a) virtual reality (VR) and (b) audiovisual (A/V) eyeglass systems (A/V distraction). Purpose: It is assumed that distraction taxes the patient's limited attention capacity, resulting in the withdrawal of attention from the noxious stimulus with a subsequent reduction in pain. Methods: Twenty studies evaluating the analgesic potential of both methods in different patient groups and in healthy volunteers were identified in the scientific literature. Results: Although the majority of these studies are hampered by serious methodological drawbacks, particularly a small number of participants, the results nevertheless strongly suggest that both VR and A/V distraction can be a very promising analgesic technique that may be used safely and effectively for the reduction of pain and discomfort during medical procedures. An additional important aspect is that few negative side effects have been reported. Conclusions: Directions for future research are presented. © 2005 by The Society of Behavioral Medicine.