The autonomous sensory meridian response is one of the most talked-about topics in the recent past, something that has made the term very popular among most people. This is shown by the number of people who talk about it on social media and the many videos being watched on YouTube about the topic. Even scientists have become interested, something that will help many people in understanding the science behind ASMR.
Is it a Sensation or an Experience?…
ASMR has been described as a “tingling sensation” that originates from the head and moves downwards towards the sides of the body and the back. The exact description of the sensation, however, differs since it is difficult to explain. To some, it feels like being slightly electrocuted, something that leaves the body feeling calm and at ease.
The sensation is also hard to notice since it gradually builds up when one listens to an ASMR audio. It has to be triggered by the specific stimuli that lead to the tingling experience. One of those triggers has been known to be whispering, which is why most ASMR audio and video have whispering tones. The sifter this whisper is, the higher the chances of experiencing the sensation and the more effective it will be.
Other stimuli for ASMR include white noise, water droplets, chewing, rain, tapping noises and a scratching sound in the skin. Most ASMR videos, therefore, have one or more of these triggers. They, however, work differently for every person.
The Origin of ASMR…
The term ASMR first became publicly known in 2010 when it was made by Jeniffer Allen who shared her experience in a forum. She told how she got different sensations from different triggers, something that others also shared.
As she was reading through the comments in the forum, she came across one that described the feeling like a “weird sensation that feels good”. She related to that specific comment since she had also experienced that specific feeling of a “euphoric sensation” as a result of different stimuli.
All the comments showed her that she wasn’t the only one experiencing such sensations. As a result, she created a social media page called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response Group. This marked the beginning of the popularity of ASMR as people from different parts of the globe started sharing their experiences and the triggers that caused them.
More people started searching about ASMR online and watching YouTube videos about the same. Most of the videos are made with amazing microphones that can capture even the slightest sound. This means they capture the whispers clearly, which makes them more realistic especially when one wears a headphone.
In some cases, the trigger sounds are mixed in one video to enhance the experience. The more triggers there are the more effective the ASMR. The availability of such videos has increased with numerous of them being available on YouTube and other platforms like Spotify.
The ASMR videos have evolved such that nowadays there are specific videos tied to specific activities. For instance, one can find ASMR content for massages, haircuts and even nature among other things. This helps immerses the listener further into the euphoria thereby increasing chances of the stimuli being triggered.
Most people turn to ASMR for relaxation. It is also known to promote good sleeping patterns by creating a soothing environment. This makes it a good treatment for insomnia
ASMR is also effective in reducing anxiety. Most people who use ASMR are between the ages of 18 to 24 years. According to data provided by Google, most of them only use ASMR when they want to relax. The data also showed that the search for ASMR on Google had increased to 200% by 2015.
Science and ASMR…
Despite ASMR having gained popularity within a short time, there isn’t enough scientific data to determine its effectiveness. However, many studies and tests are still being done on the subject.
The first study was done by researchers from the University of Sheffield and it supported the effectiveness of ASMR. According to the research, people who used ASMR had lower heart rates than those who didn’t. One of the doctors reported that the studies found that only those who “experienced the feeling” felt the effect. Those who experienced the feeling were also relaxed and calmer.
The research on the topic is still limited. It, therefore, doesn’t separate those who experience the feeling and those who can’t. More research will provide more data on ASMR and its mental and physical effects.