Thanks to the Internet, now there is an easy, mentally healthy way to relax that fits people of all ages. Introducing, the tingling sensation on your head called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response or ASMR.
Reporter: Abigail Megan Widya
Towards the end of term and year, students and workers alike are on their busiest period. If you’re struggling to find a way to relax, trying out your Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response might be the way to go.
Though the name sounds very scientific and somewhat complicated, there are not many pieces of research or scientific explaining behind this brain and bodily sensation. Ever heard certain noises and feel tingles down your spine? You might have experienced ASMR. Try this one.
Some people really like it, others hate it with passion, but most of the watchers agreed: the experience can be a bit weird, especially if you do not know anyone else who experienced the same thing.
The founder of ASMR University, Dr. Craig Richard experienced this too:
‘My mother would often put me to sleep by gently touching the inside of my arm. It was so relaxing that I would fall right to sleep, my mother also remembers this and jokes about it. Throughout my life I then also experienced ASMR while getting haircuts, hearing people whisper or talk softly, watching someone paint or demonstrate something (Bob Ross), getting examined by a clinician, hearing light crinkling or tapping sounds, watching unboxing videos – never knowing what is this sensation.
‘I first learned about the term ASMR in 2013 while listening to the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You. As they described ASMR, I had that exclamation many others have had, “Wait! I’ve experienced that!”’
The Voice of London has had the opportunity to interview one of the researchers behind the first peer-reviewed research study about ASMR, Emma Barratt.
‘ASMR can be thought of like a relaxed state, accompanied by tingling sensations that typically travel from the back of the head down the length of the spine, and across the shoulders. This can be brought about by experiencing specific triggers – most commonly whispering, someone paying you close personal attention, or “crisp” sounds (e. g. tapping, moving tin foil). It’s still a bit of a mystery, but could be related to synesthesia (a condition where a sensation in one of the senses triggers a sensation in another) and misophonia (hatred of sound).’
Differs between people, there is quite a variety of ASMR videos on the Internet. On Youtube, few of most well known British ASMR-channels are WhispersRed ASMR with 249,285 subscribers, ASMRrequests – a verified channel with more than 400,000 subscribers, and GentleWhispering with 819,764 subscribers. So not only the “discovery” of ASMR helped people to feel less stressed out and cure their insomnia, but it has also opened up a new job market.
Emma, the person behind the WhispersRed ASMR channel and website told the Voice of London:
‘When you first start making (videos) and you don’t have many followers, it takes a long time to start earning anything. But once you’ve got into it, been at it for a few years and gained followers, then you start to make enough that you can pay household bills with the money, and pay for food, and that kind of things. I’ve been slowly able to bring my part-time job down, reducing the hours because the income has been increasing from my channel.’
It even goes as far as moving the online experience of ASMR into reality. In the west side of London, there is a massage place that provides facial massages service along with ASMR and Reiki techniques. Run by a woman named Krisztina, this little place have been standing for almost a year now, with a number of regular customers.
With £50 an hour, you’ll get a first-hand experience on waking up your senses, relaxing your brain and having a de-stress like you’ve never before.
ASMR has not been widely reported to be addictive, rather the opposite has been reported. Many individuals report that they lose the ASMR sensation with repeated and chronic stimulation. Explained by Dr. Craig Richard: “Although it is often incorrectly referred to as “ASMR immunity” by others, it is actually “ASMR tolerance” because the sensation often returns after a respite.”
A research survey results from ASMR University support this because around 40% of those who experience ASMR report having it decrease or disappear at some point, but then they also report that it often returns after taking a break from it.