National / Science & Health

Kiss and tell? Ig Nobel-winning doctor gives inside dish on smooching study

Kyodo

The discovery by a Japanese doctor that kissing can reduce allergic reactions in humans, for which he won the 2015 spoof Ig Nobel medicine prize, has posed a dilemma for a Japanese woman — she wanted to see her condition improved but did not want to kiss her husband.

“I’d rather kiss my child. Would that bring similar effects?” the woman asked Hajime Kimata, who runs an allergy clinic in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, as the scientist revealed the inside story of his research during a speech in Osaka on Sunday.

While Kimata, 62, declined to reveal his answer to the woman’s question, he did confirm his research: That 30 minutes of kissing with a lover or spouse behind closed doors while listening to soft music can reduce allergic reactions among atopic and allergic patients.

It was this discovery that won him the prize, which he shared with three Slovakian scientists who also studied the “medical effects of kissing.”

“I am happy that my efforts have been recognized,” Kimata told the audience during the speech organized by the Japan Society for Laughter and Humor Studies, of which Kimata is a member.

The doctor, a fan of Charlie Chaplin films, said he has also spent time studying whether laughter can ease allergic conditions.

It was this study, he said, that led to his efforts to “bring out the natural healing power of a human through kissing.”