“Why do you watch those weird whisper videos?” ~ My roommate
Let me start at the beginning. Every night while my roommate winds down with her playlist of soothing songs and slow jams, I pull up a different kind of playlist.
A.S.M.R. stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It’s commonly described as a relaxing, tingly feeling—similar to getting a chill, but much more enjoyable. There are different triggers to induce the tingles and I have dozens of videos in my A.S.M.R. arsenal.
Not everyone experiences this phenomenon, but many of us do. I’m certainly not the only one, given the millions of videos devoted to the topic.
These videos attempt to trigger the tingles, often through whispered role-plays and other soothing sounds. While there are some common triggers, each individual may find something unique that triggers this phenomenon.
These videos are often half-hour long sound segments simulating haircuts, hotel check-ins and other mundane scenarios. There can be wrinkling, crinkling, tapping, typing and a host of other sounds sewn in to weave a complex quilt of accordant acoustics. Whispering is one of the more common triggers.
I personally enjoy the sound of typing. When I’m stressed out, whisper videos and audio recordings help me to relax and sleep soundly. To someone who doesn’t experience A.S.M.R., these videos sure seem strange, as evidenced by my roommate’s question.
To me, it is melodic; to my roommate, a waste of time.
Science has not yet been able to explain this phenomenon. We can’t be sure exactly what causes it, and why only some people experience it or what the exact physiological benefits are. One thing we can be fairly certain of is that it exists. Thousands of people document the same sensations as a response to these audio effects, but the subject has not yet been thoroughly researched. While studies are currently in progress, there have not yet been conclusive results.
Some scientists hypothesize that A.S.M.R. helps calm a hyperactive brain in the same way that meditation might. Others believe that A.S.M.R. surges the brain with dopamine. Many compare it to the sensation of musical frisson. Musical frisson provokes chills or goosebumps as an emotional response to music. A.S.M.R. may simply be a softer version of this phenomenon.
While I can’t wait to learn more about this fascinating effect, I’ll enjoy the effects in the meantime. Maybe science will one day explain it. Either way, it’s magic to me. When I’m swamped with work and just can’t stop thinking, A.S.M.R. affords me the opportunity to sleep like a baby. I feel more calm knowing I will be able to get a good night’s rest at the push of a play button. I just close my eyes and drift into a dream world after only mere minutes. For someone who once was up for hours, this is honestly amazing.
I am not sure if A.S.M.R. provides long-term benefits or if it is only a quick fix, but I am sure that its results are real. Science-backed or not, anyone who experiences A.S.M.R. will know what I mean.
If you haven’t yet tried this technique for rest or relaxation, simply search A.S.M.R. and start listening. The results may be therapeutic, particularly for those with anxiety and insomnia. A.S.M.R. is not currently recognized as a therapy technique, though some holistic psychologists have incorporated it into their practices along with guided imagery.
Have an open mind, try different triggers, and enjoy.
Author: Kristen Koennemann
Apprentice Editor: Heather Kleiman; Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: YouTube still