OBJECTIVESIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a frequently disabling and almost invariably distressing disease with a high overall prevalence. Numerous trials identified the importance of psychogenic and emotional etiological factors, and this is obvious in clinical practice. Although relaxation techniques are frequently recommended, there is still a lack of evidence for their efficacy in the management of IBS. This study therefore aims to determine the efficacy of functional relaxation (FR) in IBS.SUBJECTSThe subjects were 80 patients with IBS.INTERVENTIONSParticipants were randomly allocated either to FR or to enhanced medical care (EMC: treatment as usual plus two counseling interviews) as control intervention with 2 weekly sessions over the 5-week trial each. Thirty-nine (39) patients completed FR and 39 received EMC.OUTCOME MEASURESAn impairment-severity score (IS) was employed as the primary outcome parameter with assessment at baseline, after treatment, and again after 3-month follow-up.RESULTSFR was significantly superior to EMC with a standardized effect size of 0.85. The achieved effects through FR remained stable in terms of psychic and bodily impairment after 3-month follow-up.CONCLUSIONSThe results of our trial suggest a positive effect of FR training on subjective functional impairment in the IS, if provided in addition to treatment as usual (TAU). There appears to be a clinically relevant long-term benefit of FR as a nonpharmacological and complementary therapy approach in IBS.