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What is ASMR?

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – a complicated term for feeling the pleasurable tingles linked to receiving attention from a caring other in close encounters. They are most commonly experienced in the area of scalp and head, so ASMR have been called by many other names such as attention induced head orgasm, brain orgasms, spine tingle or brain tingles.

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However, the sensations are not limited to the area of head and can be experienced anywhere or everywhere in the body including legs and feet. The best way I can describe the tingles is that they feel like the most pleasant spill of a fizzy drink underneath my skin. It is intriguing that most people have experienced the tingles throughout their life, yet, they assume that they were the only ones and never discussed it with anyone else.

The specific situations that induce ASMR are called triggers. The common triggers are:

  1. Exposure to soft speech or whispering
  2. Having your hair brushed or getting a haircut
  3. Being massaged or touched
  4. Watching another person slowly complete a task, where the purpose of the task is teach us something
  5. Receiving a personal attention from another as in speaking to a sales person
  6. Receiving a personal caring attention as in spas, beauty salons, from healers and doctors
  7. Hearing specific sounds such as tapping, scratching, unwrapping and some pieces of music
  8. Experiencing a mind-shifting insight via a message delivered to us either in person, in lecture, in cinema etc.

What are the beneits of ASMR?

People watching ASMR videos report decrease in anxiety, sleeping disorders and even panic attacks. I’ve received letters from people who use them to help them with their sobriety, depression and suicidal thoughts. But most commonly, people watch ASMR video to relax and let go of stress and anxieties, to receive close attention and pleasure. I also postulate that ASMR may play an essential role in healing but we need more controlled studies to support that.

What is ASMR in science?

ASMR is difficult to study by traditional scientific methods as the experience is subjective and it varies from person to person. Some people are more sensitive to tingles than others, yet some have never experienced it. My view is that everyone is capable of feeling ASMR but it is a question of paying attention to them as well as developing the sensitivity.

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Some researchers support the view that ASMR resemble meditation where the areas of the brain linked to anxiety and stress are less active. I suggest that ASMR is a form of passive meditation, just as vibrating plates in the gym are a form of passive exercise.

Because of our emphatic human connection and mirror neurons, our brain cannot tell the difference between a face-to-face interaction and online roleplay. Hence Youtube today is flooded by ASMRtists who create situations in their homes to make videos aimed at triggering our tingles.

Read More: ASMR & Healing