Sniffing other people's body odour might be useful in therapy for social anxiety, say Swedish researchers who have started tests with volunteers.
Their hunch is the smell activates brain pathways linked to emotions, offering a calming effect - but it is far too soon to say if they are right.
Smell helps us humans sense danger - from food or a smoky fire, for example - and interact with our environment, as well as each other.
Aromas are detected by receptors in the upper part of the nose. Signals from these are then relayed directly to the limbic system, a brain region that is associated with memory and emotions.
The Swedish researchers suggest that human body odour might communicate our emotional state - happy or anxious, for instance - and even elicit similar responses in others who smell it.
Next, 48 women with social anxiety agreed to sniff some of these samples, alongside receiving a more conventional therapy called mindfulness, where people are encouraged to focus on the here and now rather than replaying negative thoughts.