BACKGROUND: The scheduled update to the German S3 guidelines on fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) by the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies ("Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften", AWMF; registration number 041/004) was planned starting in March 2011. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The development of the guidelines was coordinated by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Pain Therapy ("Deutsche Interdisziplinären Vereinigung für Schmerztherapie", DIVS), 9 scientific medical societies and 2 patient self-help organizations. Eight working groups with a total of 50 members were evenly balanced in terms of gender, medical field, potential conflicts of interest and hierarchical position in the medical and scientific fields. Literature searches were performed using the Medline, PsycInfo, Scopus and Cochrane Library databases (until December 2010). The grading of the strength of the evidence followed the scheme of the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. The recommendations were based on level of evidence, efficacy (meta-analysis of the outcomes pain, sleep, fatigue and health-related quality of life), acceptability (total dropout rate), risks (adverse events) and applicability of treatment modalities in the German health care system. The formulation and grading of recommendations was accomplished using a multi-step, formal consensus process. The guidelines were reviewed by the boards of the participating scientific medical societies. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Meditative movement therapies (qi gong, tai chi, yoga) are strongly recommended. Acupuncture can be considered. Mindfulness-based stress reduction as monotherapy and dance therapy as monotherapy are not recommended. Homeopathy is not recommended. In a minority vote, homeopathy was rated as "can be considered". Nutritional supplements and reiki are not recommended. The English full-text version of this article is available at SpringerLink (under "Supplemental").