Why are we, and our brains, so infatuated with ASMR?
ASMR, or more scientifically known as, Autonomous Sensory Meridan Response has seemingly become all the rage within the past year, and with the endless amounts of websites and social media outlets that exist in today’s modern technological world, including sites like, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, it has become increasingly more difficult to escape viewing these often mentally addicting videos or clips. ASMR is the effect that is created from watching those famous videos you have all seen or heard of, but what is ASMR really? And more specifically, why are we, and our brains, so infatuated with it?
What is ASMR?
ASMR features soft noises of what more often than not appears to be random daily events or sounds that have actually been noted to calm the mind of the viewer or listener. This sense of calm also creates a sense, or even physical feeling, of pleasure at the same time. These feelings are often closely related to the feelings that one may experience when using a mediation, or mindfulness-based app or in person practice. Those that are able to experience the effects of ASMR often report back strong experiences or feelings of a tingling sensation that originates at the very top of the head, (think the scalp area), that then later travels down the spine of the rest of the body. This is an urgent and sudden feeling that can be best described as a “rush”. Since this tingling feeling is starting to be better known for inducing high and sudden levels of comfort, calm, or pleasure, its no surprise why people are flocking to view these viral online videos. One interesting note that can be made about ASMR, in general, is that not every individual has the ability to feel and experience this tingling rush sensation, and there isn’t really a proven reason to explain what differentiates those that can experience it, from those who cannot experience it.
Breaking Down ASMR Videos:
Now that you have gained some background information on what ASMR is really all about, what exactly are within the content of these viral videos? Some of the most popular ASMR videos on the internet today are the ones that feature seemingly everyday sounds, just greatly emphasized through a microphone. These sounds can include, but are not limited to: whispering, gentle tapping of an object, light scratching, light blowing, eating various types of foods, turning the pages in a book, or stirring liquids; the list goes on and on. There is no one set list of ASMR registered noises because each individual experiences different rushes based off of what they consider as satisfying to them personally. The typical ASMR video set up usually will feature a lengthy video with one individual repeatedly making one of these sounds into a microphone in order to heighten it for the viewer’s pleasure. YouTube originated the trend of ASMR videos, but now people can locate shorter ASMR videos in a much faster fashion than ever before with the all too popular social media apps of our generation like Instagram and Snapchat. These apps are famous for curating short video content clips that focus on just about any topic one could think of, and it’s safe to say almost everyone has downloaded, or will eventually download one of these apps onto their smartphones or laptops. Not all of us may know exactly what ASMR is, or what it actually causes to our mind and body, but we most all certainly can find and access a media outlet to viewing ASMR, whether we are aware of that or not, since ASMR is everywhere today.
Effects of ASMR on the Brain:
Learning why people are so urgent to flock to watching ASMR, and learning how people can access ASMR videos and the feelings associated with them is one thing, but what are the actual physical and scientific effects, or benefits, that are being picked up on by our brains from the frequent viewing of these pleasuring and addicting videos? We previously mentioned the calming effects that can be created from viewing ASMR, but what does that truly mean as an overall mental effect on us? Frequent viewers of ASMR videos have claimed that the sense of calm caused from these addicting clips have actually helped them cure, or change their poor sleeping habits or tendencies, as well as lowering their overall personal stress levels, and even some individuals have reported ASMR lowered their overall heart rate levels. Those struggling with insomnia or just poor sleeping habits can use ASMR videos as a tool to help guide them to an effortless sleep schedule and cycle. The best results for those with these all too common struggles is to watch ASMR right before they would like to go to bed. This just shows us that people can actively use ASMR as an outlet to help with certain physical or mental health issues they may be struggling with once they learn more about ASMR and its benefits. Not only is ASMR a calming force, but it may also be a positive one. Users have made the claim that ASMR is an outlet to help promote and create positive thoughts and feelings in those that are fortunate enough to feel ASMR’s effects. For those that are struggling with mental disorders such as anxiety or depression, ASMR might just be the simple answer to quick relief. Anxiety and depression are disorders that are often accompanied by daily or frequent, negative thoughts and feelings about all aspects of life, and since ASMR creates a physical and mental rush of positivity and pleasure, it truly has a larger impact on our brains than we thought.
To a blind eye ASMR is just a weird internet obsession that is likely to fade, but to those that have taken the time to do their research, it is apparent that ASMR is so much more. The benefits and sensations that these videos cause cannot be ignored, and people should open their minds open to the possibility that ASMR could become a free tool for them to access to change, improve, or reduce an infinite amount of mental or physical problems one may be facing.