No Thanks, I'll Just Stay Nervous: Study Suggests Sniffing Other People's Sweat Can Cure Social Anxiety

There's good news and bad news for people with social anxiety. The good news is there may be a treatment that will cure what ails you, but that cure may involve nose fulls of other people's sweat.

That's cool, I'll just stick with not liking parties.

According to Sky News, some researchers were looking into ways to treat social anxiety. They performed various mindfulness techniques on 48 women who suffer from social anxiety.

Now, here's where these researchers had a trick up their sleeves — way up their sleeves.

They got volunteers to watch clips from comedy and horror movies and then collected their armpit sweat. The reason for the movies was that they thought people might emit different odors while scared versus cracking up at Mr. Bean's Holiday (which was one of the movies they used).

Haven't you ever watched a horror movie and noticed everyone in the crowded theatre emitting a "fear smell?"

Me neither.

Once the samples were collected, the poor women getting treatment were exposed to the volunteers' BO.

Lo and behold — at least according to the researchers — it worked.

Although, would they ever admit that it didn't? It wouldn't look good to the scientific community if they had to admit they were making people huff BO for no reason. I'm far from an expert on scientific ethics but this sounds frowned upon.

So Many Unanswered Pit Sweat Curing Social Anxiety Questions

The researchers said that they saw a 39% reduction in social anxiety. Once again, it's unclear how this is measured or how smelling people's pits made this difference.

However, sweat from someone who watched a Mr. Bean movie and sweat from someone who watched someone get their head lopped off in a horror flick, didn't make a difference.

Those are just the wonders of science, and with so many unanswered questions, Lead researcher Elisa Vigna from Sweden's Karolinska Institute says there's more work to be done.

"It may be that simply being exposed to the presence of someone else has this effect, but we need to confirm this," Vigna said.

I still can't figure out how this hypothesis was even raised. It sounds like a goof that turned out to kind of work.

Like someone said "Wouldn't it be funny if we got a bunch of nervous people to sniff pit sweat? Not our pit sweat — that would be weird — but maybe some volunteers' pit sweat maybe?"

I'm also not sure how this becomes applicable in the real world. If you go to a psychiatrist to talk about social anxiety, will they sit there and nod for a couple then shove your nose in their armpit and announce that you're cured?

But then again, I'm not a scientist. I'm sure they know what they're doing.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

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Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.