Sniffing armpit sweat may help with anxiety, Swedish researchers say
Scientists suspect that the smell of sweat has a calming effect, as it stimulates a certain part of the brain. This is written by various foreign media, including the BBC.
How exactly the volunteers took the sweat samples from themselves, the story does not say. Some of the volunteers have been known to collect sweat while watching a horror movie and another part while a happy movie was playing.
The subjects of the study were 48 women suffering from social anxiety – such as fear of criticism or rejection. Some of them smelled the sweat samples. Another part smelled like placebo samples, so clean air.
In addition to sniffing sweat or fake sweat, all the women practiced mindfulness. Women who were exposed to real sweat performed better during this therapy. It is unclear exactly how this was measured.
Still in early stage
The BBC quotes lead researcher Elisa Vigna as saying that the sweat of people who watched the movie happy had the same effect as the sweat of people who watched something scary. Researchers will now investigate further whether sweat has a calming effect anyway and therefore does not convey the mood of the person from whom it originates.
Perhaps a little warning: sniffing other people’s armpits too enthusiastically may still be a bit premature; the scientists emphasize that these are preliminary results. The first results will be presented this week at a conference in Paris.
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