Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Longitudinal and Immediate Effect of Kundalini Yoga on Salivary Levels of Cortisol and Activity of Alpha-Amylase and Its Effect on Perceived Stress

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Longitudinal and Immediate Effect of Kundalini Yoga on Salivary Levels of Cortisol and Activity of Alpha-Amylase and Its Effect on Perceived Stress

Article excerpt

Byline: Jocelyn. Garcia-Sesnich, Mauricio. Flores, Marcela. Rios, Jorge. Aravena

Context: Stress is defined as an alteration of an organism's balance in response to a demand perceived from the environment. Diverse methods exist to evaluate physiological response. A noninvasive method is salivary measurement of cortisol and alpha-amylase. A growing body of evidence suggests that the regular practice of Yoga would be an effective treatment for stress. Aims: To determine the Kundalini Yoga (KY) effect, immediate and after 3 months of regular practice, on the perception of psychological stress and the salivary levels of cortisol and alpha-amylase activity. Settings and Design: To determine the psychological perceived stress, levels of cortisol and alpha-amylase activity in saliva, and compare between the participants to KY classes performed for 3 months and a group that does not practice any type of yoga. Subjects and Methods: The total sample consisted of 26 people between 18 and 45-year-old; 13 taking part in KY classes given at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Chile and 13 controls. Salivary samples were collected, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed to quantify cortisol and kinetic reaction test was made to determine alpha-amylase activity. Perceived Stress Scale was applied at the beginning and at the end of the intervention. Statistical Analysis Used: Statistical analysis was applied using Stata v11.1 software. Shapiro–Wilk test was used to determine data distribution. The paired analysis was fulfilled by t-test or Wilcoxon signed-rank test. T-test or Mann–Whitney's test was applied to compare longitudinal data. A statistical significance was considered when P< 0.05. Results: KY practice had an immediate effect on salivary cortisol. The activity of alpha-amylase did not show significant changes. A significant decrease of perceived stress in the study group was found. Conclusions: KY practice shows an immediate effect on salivary cortisol levels and on perceived stress after 3 months of practice.

Introduction

Stress is defined as an alteration of an organism's homeostasis in response to a real or perceived demand from the environment. The stressors can be biological, environmental, social, emotional, or psychological, unleashing a response to restore the balance.[sup][1],[2],[3]

The physiological response to stress is formed by two principal branches: autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).[sup][3] The sympathetic nervous system part of ANS responds immediately by adrenergic hormones. The HPA axis allows a late and supported over time response by secreting glucocorticoids as cortisol.[sup][4]

Cortisol and adrenergic hormones have been defined as reliable indicators of the activity of the physiological systems of stress. Nevertheless, stress is a many-sided phenomenon that needs a multidimensional approach.[sup][5],[6],[7]

Saliva has received great attention as a fluid that allows to the quantification of the presence of diverse markers such as immunoglobulin, cortisol,[sup][2],[8],[9] and alpha-amylase [sup][3],[10],[11],[12],[13] among others, in a noninvasive way.

To approach stress in an integrated way, its subjective component is also relevant. Every person reacts differently to stressors, resulting in different perceptions of stress. The characteristics of this response have an important relationship with individual, social, and cultural aspects, giving a particular aspect to the experience perceived by each individual.[sup][14]

In 1983, Cohen et al .[sup][15] developed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) to measure the degree, in which the persons evaluate the stressful situations in their daily life. The scale includes questions destined to evaluate the perception of stress during the last month.[sup][16]

Nowadays, diverse forms of treatment for stress exist. …

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