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Guide to ASMR: Benefits, Triggers, and Responses

Guide to ASMR: Benefits, Triggers, and Responses

You’ve probably encountered the term, “ASMR” but you decided to shrug it off and scroll past it because it didn’t make sense to you at that time. Suddenly, all you see in your Facebook feed is a string of “ASMR” videos from your friends’ shared posts, and then you told yourself, “That’s it! I’m finding out what’s all the fuss with this ASMR thing.”

So you typed the term in your search bar, and you’re overwhelmed with a thousand more videos, most of which were from Youtube. You noticed that most of the video thumbnails display a person with a pair of headphones on, and a big microphone in front of them.

These videos have a whopping number of views, and that drove your curiosity more. You clicked on one, and when the video started playing, you got confused because the only thing that the person did the entire time is to whisper closely on the mic. You thought to yourself, “People actually love watching this kind of video?”

Why are people so into ASMR? What does it do to you? Are there any benefits to watching such videos? We’ll answer all of these questions and more in this article, so read on!

What’s ASMR?

ASMR is an abbreviation that stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. As scientific and technical as this term sounds, it’s actually just a bunch of words that coined by Jennifer Allen. Jennifer was one of the first people who discovered this strange body phenomenon, and she figured that people couldn’t actually talk about this occurrence without putting a name on it, thus, the term ASMR.

ASMR is the sensation that an individual gets as a reaction from particular sensory stimuli or triggers. People who experience this describe it as the tingling feeling that starts from your head and crawls down to the neck and the back. They also like to refer to this term as “brain orgasm” because of the pleasurable feeling that people get when exposed to stimulating videos and sounds.

If you’re still not picking up the definition behind ASMR, go back to your childhood and imagine how lullaby songs or bedtime stories lulled you to sleep. ASMR enthusiasts say that this feeling helps them relax and fall asleep while others even testify that ASMR helps them deal with anxiety and depression.

Is There Science Behind ASMR?

Most people find ASMR as a baffling idea because a lot of enthusiasts claim to experience medical benefits from it, yet if you look beyond the stimulating videos, and focus on the scientific details behind this phenomenon, you’ll most likely hit a dead end.

Up to this date, there are only a few scientific research conducted about ASMR, and most of them, if not all, fail to pinpoint the actual foundation and relation of such occurrence to an individual who’s affected by it. Psychiatrists and neuroscientists admit that ASMR is an interesting subject because it’s indeed a human psychological feature; however, the factors contributing to the sensation brought by ASMR-related stimuli are hard to study and describe.

An interesting study speculated that ASMR is somewhat similar to a neurological condition called “synesthesia”. People with synesthesia have different sensory associations in the brain compared to those who don’t have the condition, which is why they have special abilities like seeing numbers in colors. Researchers theorized that the effects of ASMR are also driven by the same factor that causes synesthesia.

Apart from the study above, several experiments and researches still don’t have enough answers to build a scientific background to support ASMR.

Why are People into ASMR?

The most common response to this question is because ASMR tends to bring comfort and peace towards people. But then again, why? This peculiar phenomenon is something that even scientists have a hard time explaining; however, one of the few existing studies about it had findings that suggest about the mental and physical benefits of watching ASMR videos.

According to the study, people who constantly watch stimulating videos tend to express more positive emotions (like being calm and relaxed) than those who typically don’t.

The study also pointed out that the effects brought by watching ASMR videos can be similarly compared to the ones that resulted from listening to music. Other researches also concluded that the sensation causes the parts of the brain, which are responsible for expressing stress and anxiety, for shutting down.

Does Everyone Experience ASMR?

If you’ve tried to watch ASMR videos and felt nothing, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific explanation to give you the details as to why. Still, experts suggest that certain factors, like personality traits and preferences, cause others to feel the effects of ASMR while others don’t.

Some also say that people have different intensities of connection between their brain’s areas for auditory and emotional sensory nerves, and those significantly affect the ASMR experience for an individual.

Keep in mind that just because you don’t experience it the first few videos, it doesn’t already mean that you’re not capable of feeling such sensation. It may be because of how your brain responds to the chemical reaction brought by ASMR, which results in a slightly different sensitivity in your end. Another possible reason is that you’re watching the wrong ASMR videos.

According to an organization, which is focused on conducting further scientific studies about ASMR, people who seek such sensation can be categorized into two types: Type A and Type B. People who have Type A characteristics tend to feel relaxed when being exposed to meditating videos.

Those with a Type B characteristic, on the other hand, feel pleasure when watching videos that involve external movements to produce sounds like slicing a soap, brushing the hair, and whispering on the microphone.

What are ASMR Triggers?

The ASMR Triggers are the sounds that stimulate a person’s response to ASMR. If you scroll through Youtube, you’ll find that there’s a wide variety of triggers, which the ASMR community provides.

While there are millions of videos that show a vast array of ASMR stimulating activities, you’ll notice that most of them follow a few common themes that present major categories of triggers. The main types of triggers are as follows:

  • Whispers (whispering speech or talking softly)
  • Crisp Sounds (tapping fingernails on the microphone, crumpling metallic foil, etc.)
  • Chewing Sounds (eating a variety of foods without talking, chewing soft and sticky foods, and etc.)  
  • Personal Attention (roleplaying, simulating a haircut, painting nails, etc.)
  • Repetitive Movements (scratching the surface of the microphone, drawing or writing on the paper, and squishing slime)

What are the Benefits of ASMR?

Since ASMR lacks a rock-solid scientific foundation, it’s a considerable doubt that it’s being discussed and studied in medical schools to distinguish and produce clinical claims towards the phenomenon. Your only sources for the basis to answer this question are from the positive statements you’ll read from millions of people on the internet who are avid watchers of ASMR.

You can gather opinions from the comment sections of Youtube ASMR videos to the forums made by the ASMR community in Reddit. From those, you can find how ASMR serves as a quick aid for people who have been spending years searching for alternative ways to cure some instances of mental disorders such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

In addition to those, people also claimed that ASMR helped them reduce their stress levels and improve their emotional well-being.

While more and more enthusiasts are starting to support ASMR and its online presence in different media-sharing platforms, studies are still on the process and deliberation to prove its beneficial effects.

What does the Future Hold for ASMR?

With the evident success of ASMR in the online community today, foreseeing it as something that will only grow in the future is understandable.

The number of ASMR enthusiast is rapidly increasing, alongside the number of video creators that continue to supply sensory satisfaction. The effects of ASMR continue to bring positivity forward to every sensation seeker and the ones who produce the videos themselves.

Did you know that thousands of people actually make a living from doing ASMR videos? Hours upon uploading an ASMR video on Youtube gain thousands of views right away, how much more can one get after days of uploading such content in the platform?

For this reason alone, you can’t deny that this is the best opportunity for those who love and understand the art of crafting ASMR videos for the world to watch.

Additionally, technology-driven companies are starting to see the potential growth of ASMR in the industry, and necessary pieces equipments and devices for ASMR video creation are being developed to improve further the quality of the content that’s everyone seems to be satisfied at the time. Only time and technological advances will tell how ASMR will change for the better in the future.

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