Smelling other people’s body odor may help treat social anxiety, according to a new study.
Armpit sweat was taken from volunteers who watched clips of happy or scary movies — including Mr Bean’s Vacation, The Sister Act and The Grudge.
These samples were then used to treat social anxiety along with more traditional mindfulness-based therapies.
Research shows that mindfulness combined with body odor is more effective.
The study involved 48 women with social anxiety disorder, some of whom were exposed to clean air and others to body odor.
Patients who completed mindfulness training while exposed to body odor experienced a 39 percent reduction in social anxiety, while those without body odor experienced a 17 percent reduction in anxiety scores.
The researchers believe that human sweat affects response to treatment – but say more work is needed to confirm the link.
They believe that depending on the mood the volunteers were in when they sweated, it might have different effects on the treatment — which is why they made them watch a movie to elicit specific feelings.
However, the effect was the same whether the sweaty person was watching a comedy or a horror movie.
Lead researcher Elisa Vigna from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said the team was “a bit surprised” by this.
“It could just be exposure to other people that has this effect, but we need to confirm that,” she said.
social anxiety is a Mental Health Situations where people worry excessively about social situations.
According to the NHS website, a variety of treatments are currently available for the condition, including cognitive behavioral therapy, guided self-help and antidepressants.