Here’s something to wrap your nose around: Sniffing man-scent can be a great way to relieve stress. At least, according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia. Here’s how it worked: Researchers recruited about 100 male/female couples. The men were given a clean t-shirt to wear for 24-hours and instructed not to use any deodorant or other scented body products.
Once the 24-hours were up, the female participants were randomly assigned a t-shirt to bury their nose in. The shirts had either been worn by their partner, by someone other than their partner, or were clean/unworn. They were not informed which shirt they had been given prior to the sniff test.
Before and after smelling the t-shirts, the women underwent stress tests. Researchers noticed that that women who sniffed their own partner’s t-shirt felt less stressed. Not just that, but some of the women were even able to correctly identify their partner’s scent.
“Many people wear their partner’s shirt or sleep on their partner’s side of the bed when their partner is away, but may not realize why they engage in these behaviors,” the study’s lead author and a grad student in the UBC department of psychology, Marlise Hofer, says.
“Our findings suggest that a partner’s scent alone, even without their physical presence, can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress.”
Frances Chen, a study author and assistant professor in the UBC department of psychology, adds, “Our research suggests that something as simple as taking an article of clothing that was worn by your loved one could help lower stress levels when you’re far from home.”