Investigators from the Department of Gastroenterology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem conducted a randomized, controlled trial with 56 outpatients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to see if relaxation training could improve their quality of life.
Subjects were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a waiting-list control group.  Treatment group patients attended three relaxation-training sessions and received an audio disc for home practice.

Pre- and post-treatment measures were taken of anxiety with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Quality of Life was measured with the IBD Questionnaire. The Visual Analogue Scale assessed pain, depression, stress and mood.  Patients also completed a symptom monitoring diary. The control group's symptoms were monitored without study-related treatment.
Thirty-nine subjects completed the study and were included in the data analysis. Following the relaxation-training intervention, the treatment group's (n = 18) measured results showed a statistically significant improvement as compared to the control group (n = 21): anxiety levels decreased (p < 0.01), QoL and mood improved (p < 0.05), while levels of pain and stress decreased (p < 0.01).
The researchers summarized their findings as indicating that IBD patients may benefit from relaxation training, and that further investigation is warranted.

Citation:  Mizrahi MC, Reicher-Atir R, Levy S, Haramati S, Wengrower D, Israeli E, Goldin E. Effects of guided imagery with relaxation training on anxiety and quality of life among patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Psychology and Health. 2012 May 30. [Epub ahead of print]