Purpose: Yoga stretching can be done comfortably and easily by beginners and older adults to compensate for lack of exercise or poor health maintenance. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of yoga stretching on mucosal immune functions, primarily human β-defensin 2 (HBD-2) in saliva. Methods: Fifteen healthy adults (age, 60.4 ± 8.0 years) participated in the study. Participants rested for 90 min on the first day and performed yoga for 90 min on the second day. Measurements were carried out before and after rest or yoga. Saliva samples were collected by chewing a sterile cotton at a frequency of 60 cycles per min. Salivary HBD-2 concentration was measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: HBD-2 concentration after yoga stretching (165.4 ± 127.1 pg/mL) was significantly higher than that before yoga stretching (84.1 ± 63.4 pg/mL; p < 0.01). HBD-2 expression rate after yoga stretching (232.8 ± 192.9 pg/min) was significantly higher than that before yoga stretching (110.7 ± 96.8 pg/min; p < 0.01). HBD-2 concentration (p < 0.05) and HBD-2 expression rate (p < 0.01) at post on the second day (yoga) was significantly higher than that on the first day (rest). POMS score of anger-hostility was lower after yoga than before. Conclusions: Yoga stretching for 90 min can increase salivary HBD-2 expression in older adults. Therefore, yoga stretching might be useful for older adults and athletes to maintain their health.
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