What Is ASMR? The Sound-Centered Sensory Response That’s All the Rage Online

What Is ASMR? The Sound-Centered Sensory Response That’s All the Rage Online

ASMR is an acronym which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a term most of us never heard of until ASMR-themed videos began uploading to YouTube at a frenetic pace. Being that Silent Mind is all about getting good vibes through sound, we decided to check it out. Here are some questions we had, and the answers we found.


What qualifies as ASMR?


To trigger the ASMR response (more on that coming up) the listener typically chooses soft noises. These are almost always gently amplified with a microphone to make the finer details of an otherwise ordinary sound stand out. Some of the most popular sounds include:


  • Whispering
  • Tapping
  • Scratching
  • Crinkling
  • Blowing


Fans of ASMR also get the desired sensations with singing bowls!


People who consume a lot of ASMR content also like when the provider engages in some sort of roleplay. Usually, they’ll roleplay relaxing activities, such as visiting a spa. Also popular are activities where tasks are calmly and methodically accomplished.


In reviewing various ASMR videos, it seems that an activity as simple as folding a pile of laundry can actually be an ASMR experience. Some even like videos that replicate a visit to a dentist’s office, where they can enjoy the clinking of instruments. Understandably, the dentist is hardly a “relaxing” experience for many others.


Who is susceptible to ASMR?


If none of the above sounds very interesting or appealing to you, you might be wondering who exactly is into ASMR. According to the data, viewing and listening to ASMR content is much more popular with people aged 24 and under than it is with older generations.


Also, a recent study set out to examine personality traits the ASMR-susceptible may possess. What this study suggests is that ASMR fans may be more likely to keep an open mind and value creativity. However, ASMR fans may also be more prone to introversion and anxiety. Hence, they truly do use ASMR to relax, or even to fall asleep.


In a nutshell, it’s a new, rather offbeat form of sound therapy


How does ASMR make you feel?


We use singing bowls, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness to increase our capacity to relax. But what sensations would someone susceptible to ASMR find relaxing? How is the sound of someone giving a scalp massage supposed to make an ASMR viewer feel?


People who “get” ASMR commonly describe the feeling as a tingle that begins on their scalp, or in the brain itself. The sensations, when sustained, may spread down the spine.


And even though there’s a visual aspect to modern ASMR material, the effects are thought to come primarily from the sound, which is processed in the brain’s auditory cortex. That said, when an ASMR experience includes visuals of, say, getting a pedicure, fans report that they too can really feel sensations in their feet, even if it is the sound that provides the foundation for the sensation.


All of this adds up to a progressive sort of relaxation, which is why the ASMR-susceptible often watch videos greater than 10 minutes in length.


Are you susceptible to ASMR sensations? Do you think this is a valid form of meditation or relaxation? Does the sound of a singing bowl give you the tingles? Share in the comments below!

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