Smelling Someone’s Sweat Can Reduce Anxiety, Study Shows

In Education

A new study suggests that sniffing other people’s sweat may help relieve social anxiety, a mental health issue that often arises during adolescence and can lead to long-term implications. Everyday activities such as meeting strangers, speaking on the phone, or going to work can trigger symptoms such as nausea, trembling, hot flashes, or panic attacks.

Human “chemo signals” reduce social anxiety

Nonetheless, when patients received mindfulness therapy and were exposed to human “chemo-signals,” these problems decreased by nearly 40%. In addition, researchers got smelly samples from the underarm sweat of subjects, usually called body odor or “BO.”

Elisa Vigna, the project leader from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, explains that our emotions can produce chemo-signals in our sweat that communicate our emotional state and create corresponding responses in others. She further states that the study’s initial results suggest that combining these chemo-signals with mindfulness therapy can improve the treatment of social anxiety more effectively than just using mindfulness therapy alone.

According to a recent study, patients who suffer from social anxiety can benefit from a combination of mindfulness therapy and exposure to human body odors. This combination therapy has been found to reduce anxiety scores by about 39%, while a reduction of 17% was observed in the group that received only mindfulness therapy.

Women exposed to sweat samples to show the effect on anxiety

In a study on 48 women with social anxiety, researchers found that those who underwent mindfulness therapy while being exposed to sweat samples from people who watched funny or fearful movies had better treatment outcomes than those who weren’t exposed. However, the emotional state of the person producing the sweat did not affect the results, suggesting that human chemo-signals in sweat generally affect the response to treatment.

A Swedish research team has found that using human body odor in conjunction with mindfulness therapy can reduce social anxiety scores by up to 39%. The researchers are working to isolate the specific molecules in sweat responsible for this effect, hoping that it will lead to more effective e-health interventions and provide an alternative for those who do not respond to existing programs.

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