Effect of autogenic training on general improvement in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2010 Sep;35(3):189-98. doi: 10.1007/s10484-009-9125-y.


Autogenic training (AT) is a useful and comprehensive relaxation technique. However, no studies have investigated the effects of AT on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In this study we tested the hypothesis that AT improves symptoms of IBS. Twenty-one patients with IBS were randomly assigned to AT (n = 11, 5 male, 6 female) or control therapy (n = 10, 5 male, 5 female). AT patients were trained intensively, while the control therapy consisted of discussions about patients' meal habits and life styles. All patients answered a question related to adequate relief (AR) of IBS symptoms and four questionnaires: Self-induced IBS Questionnaire (SIBSQ), Self-reported Depression Scale (SDS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and Medical Outcome Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36). The proportion of AR in the last AT session in the AT group (9/11, 81.8%) was significantly higher than that in the controls (3/10, 30.0%, Chi-square test, p = 0.048). Two subscales of the SF-36, i.e., social functioning and bodily pain, were significantly improved in the AT group (p < 0.05) as compared to the control group. Role emotional (p = 0.051) and general health (p = 0.068) showed a tendency for improvement in the AT group. AT may be useful in the treatment of IBS by enhancing self-control.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Autogenic Training*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome