12 Things You Need to Know About ASMR
You may have recently seen a reference to ASMR in pop culture or online. What is this four-letter phenomenon and why is it gaining massive attention?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It refers to a tingling sensation that usually begins on the back of the head and runs down the length of the spine in response to certain stimuli, like whispering. Participants say it induces relaxation, euphoric-like states, and helps with falling asleep. Experiencing ASMR through videos and podcasts has become increasingly popular in the last decade, and recent scientific studies clearly demonstrate the health benefits.
Whether you’re hearing about it for the first time or are already well-versed, you’ll love these 12 interesting facts about the history and science of ASMR.
12 fascinating facts about ASMR
- The sensation that later became known as ASMR was first mentioned online in 2007. ASMR University, a website that compiles all of the latest research and resources about ASMR, states it appeared on a forum at SteadyHealth.com entitled, “Weird sensation, feels good.”
- Creators that use different mediums to stimulate ASMR are called artists. In the last decade, an abundance of films, tv shows, music, literature, commercials, and art pieces have made reference to or used examples of ASMR.
- The first ASMR artist started her YouTube channel, WhisperingLife, in 2009. She’s an optician living in England and prefers to keep her name private.
- The first videos of people whispering on YouTube weren’t intended for ASMR as the creators simply didn’t want to be heard by others nearby. However, these videos became popular with a growing number of people who found the whispering relaxing.
- An ongoing research project at ASMR University reveals that ASMR videos have overwhelmingly been found to cause excitement, tingling, calmness, and a decreased heart rate. If you want to experience ASMR and see if it works for you try one of the free ASMR sounds on the BetterSleep app.
- The first peer-reviewed study on ASMR, published in 2015, confirmed that ASMR provided temporary relief for those suffering from depression and chronic pain.
- The same study reported that a whopping 98 percent of the participants used ASMR for relaxation and 82 percent used it to help them sleep. Though there’s a small subset that uses ASMR triggers for sexual stimulation, only a small percentage report arousal by triggers. Five percent of the participants used ASMR for sexual arousal, while 84 percent disagreed with this notion.
- The most common ASMR triggers reported in that study were whispering, personal attention (encouraging words, caring role play), crisp sounds, and slow movements. Less common triggers were repetitive movements, smiling, airplane sounds, vacuum cleaner sounds, and laughing.
- The results of the study suggested that those most receptive to ASMR triggers also experienced a highly-focused state, or flow state, during ASMR consumption. To identify the traits of flow state, researchers used an established scale which asked participants to rate their experiences on a five-point scale. One example of a common experience in flow state is, “Things seem to happen automatically.”
- Another study published later that year found a significant difference in the areas of the brain that networked together between the ASMR and non-ASMR groups. The results suggested that people experiencing ASMR have atypical wiring in the brain related to sensory associations.
- Members of the I Am ASMR Facebook group declared April 9th International ASMR Day.
- ASMR could make become a staple of marketing and advertising very soon. An early 2019 article in AdAge stated, “With the over-saturation of images, customers will want to find meaning through sound and speech […] ASMR […] is also a sign of this renewal. By whispering information, we make it more impactful […]” Michelob recently used popular ASMR triggers in their ad aired during the Superbowl.
The growing scientific evidence of the benefits of ASMR and its ability to help with relaxation in a digital age is bound to expand the rising enthusiasm in ASMR art and media.
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