A new study suggests that smelling other people’s body odor may help treat social anxiety. Participants who watched Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Sister Act, and The Grudge sweat samples were collected.
These samples were then combined with traditional mindfulness therapy to help individuals with social anxiety.
The study, which involved 48 socially anxious women, showed that mindfulness therapy was more effective when paired with body odor exposure.
Participants who underwent mindfulness sessions while exposed to body odors experienced a 39% decrease in social anxiety. This was compared to a 17% decrease for those not exposed to body odors. Researchers believe human sweat may impact treatment response, but more research is needed to confirm this connection.
The study also explored whether sweat donors’ emotions during sweating could influence treatment. Still, no difference was observed between people watching comedies and horrors. Elisa Vigna, the lead researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, expressed surprise at this finding.
“It may be that simply being exposed to the presence of someone else has this effect, but we need to confirm this,” she said.
Some evidence suggests that exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing individuals to anxiety-provoking situations, can effectively treat social anxiety disorder.
However, this therapy typically involves exposure to social situations rather than sweat smell.
While it is true that certain smells can impact our emotions and behavior, it is unlikely that sniffing other people’s sweat would treat social anxiety.
This behavior could be harmful, leading to social isolation and negative social consequences.
Social anxiety disorder is a psychological issue characterized by extreme concern about social situations. The NHS website states several treatment options exist for this condition, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, guided self-help, and antidepressant medications.