ASMR: A Possible Stress Reliever

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Isabella Wartzenluft, Reporter and Editor

ASMR starts with a tingling in the scalp and back of the neck and then leads to a sudden calming sensation. According to The New York Times, these tingles and other sensations are becoming increasingly sought out–and can be found all over the internet due to autonomous sensory meridian response.

According to Pennsylvania State University, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience that is triggered by pleasing sounds or visuals and provides positive feelings and forms of relaxation. In other words, a person hears a noise or sees something visually pleasing, and in response feels more relaxed and happy.

ASMR is a recently popular self-help trend for insomnia and anxiety. YouTube holds videos that may help people relax and focus less on their anxiety.

The most common trigger of ASMR is the sound of someone whispering. Others include painting videos, many from famous painter Bob Ross, the sound of nails tapping against a table, and pages turning in a book (hyperlinked are examples). ASMR is blowing up on YouTube, and there are currently over one million videos dedicated to helping people relax and sleep.

Alexandra Ruckstadter, an Arrowhead senior, says, “[Painting ASMR] was calming after a while, but not in the traditional sense where he had a calming voice or made the brush strokes in a soothing way. It was like a curiosity kind of calming where I wanted to keep watching to see what he did, but I didn’t have control over it, so I could see how it could be used as an anti-anxiety type therapy.

[ASMR therapy], seems like a good idea, and even if it doesn’t work as therapy, I’m sure it would at least feel good for a bit so it couldn’t hurt.”

The YouTube channel GentleWhispering is one of the most popular ASMR channels. Their videos have over 81 million cumulative views. According to The Independent Newspaper, channels with videos such as this may even help with issues such as depression.

“[Whisper ASMR] was another video that was calming coming from a place of curiosity. At first I turned the volume up really high to listen to her, but then I turned it back down and focused on trying to hear what she had to say more from the way she moved her mouth than actually being able to hear each sound,” says Ruckstadter.

According to ASMR Lab, a website dedicated to informing people about ASMR, this is a science that has not yet been tested. It is not known if some people feel triggered after watching these videos for reasons that are completely unrelated to the idea. However, many individuals have reported that these feelings have helped calm their anxiety.

“I respect [ASMR] 100 percent,” says Ruckstadter.