Yoga stretching for improving salivary immune function and mental stress in middle-aged and older adults

J Women Aging. 2018 May-Jun;30(3):227-241. doi: 10.1080/08952841.2017.1295689. Epub 2017 Apr 3.


Protection against age-related immune suppression is important in elderly individuals. This study determined the effect of yoga on mucosal immune function and mental stress. Saliva samples were collected from 23 adult women (age: 60.4 ± 10.4 years) before and after 90 minutes of yoga stretching or rest to measure secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), cortisol, and testosterone. The SIgA concentration and secretion rate were significantly higher after yoga than before (p < .05). The cortisol concentration and secretion rate were lower and testosterone secretion rate higher after yoga (p < .05). Yoga stretching can reduce stress and enhance mucosal immune function in elderly women.

Keywords: Cortisol; elderly; secretory immunoglobulin A; testosterone; yoga.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis
  • Immunity, Mucosal / physiology
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises / methods*
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Saliva / immunology
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Testosterone / analysis
  • Yoga*


  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone