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Smelling Sweaty Armpits Can Help Relieve Social Anxiety

Smelling Sweaty Armpits Can Help Relieve Social Anxiety

Get a whiff of this: Smelling other people’s stinky armpits could help reduce your social anxiety.

Yes, you read that right. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have discovered that exposure to human “chemo-signals” found in the underarm sweat of volunteers helps treat social anxiety when combined with mindfulness therapy. In other words, the key to relieving social anxiety may lie in smelling other people’s sweaty armpits.

These chemo-signals, more commonly known as body odor or “BO,” are produced by bodies in response to our emotional state and can communicate that state to others. The study found that patients who underwent mindfulness therapy while being exposed to these chemo-signals reported reduction in symptoms of social anxiety by nearly 40 percent.

“The results of our preliminary study show that combining these chemo-signals with mindfulness therapy seems to produce better results in treating social anxiety than can be achieved by mindfulness therapy alone,” said project leader Elisa Vigna of the Karolinska Institute.

While the idea of sniffing someone’s sweaty armpit may not sound appealing, this is actually a significant breakthrough in the field of mental health. Social anxiety can have long-term implications for those who suffer from it, including feeling sick, hot flushes, trembling and even panic attacks. So if a quick, stinky sniff can quell some anxiety, it could be worth the brief yet unpleasant smell.

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