Letter of recommendation: ASMR

A physical sensation resulting from any stimuli from napkin folding to artist Bob Ross, ASMR provides an easy relaxation technique for anyone, anytime, anywhere.


Grace Yarrow, Copy Editor

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a set of aural stimuli used to result in a relaxing tingling sensation starting in one’s scalp and eventually washing over the rest of the body. Few studies have actually been conducted on the matter, and some (justifiably) have their doubts on what occurs in the brain experiencing ASMR. Despite this, the therapeutic technique has swept the internet, with millions of people viewing videos made by ordinary people at home.

The idea is fairly basic: most ASMR videos have different “triggers,” common noises like finger tapping, whispering, and other quiet aural stimuli. If you’ve ever felt a wash of relaxation while at the doctor or while someone was brushing their hair, you have experienced the effects of ASMR.

My first experience with ASMR was in the wee hours of the morning during finals, just about at the point where stress piles so deeply that you’re paralyzed, afraid of even moving or thinking about anything. As someone generally quite concerned with grades, all I could think about was how I was going to fail out of high school and live a sad, lonely life.

For me, that amount of stress meant sitting in my bed for hours, unable to relax or calm down. Unable to study any more unless I wanted my brain to completely turn to mush, I desperately searched Google for answers to my sleeplessness.

The first video was, in a word, weird. I was creeped out by the lady whispering to me, confused as to why she kept tapping her nails and stroking the camera. What I learned shortly was that in order to actually enjoy the results of ASMR, it is but necessary to ignore all hesitation and just let your mind melt.

I was so relaxed, I fell asleep in a matter of minutes. Since then, most of my ASMR usage has been for de-stress purposes, because trying to watch to fall asleep is almost too effective, as I completely pass out the second the video begins.

The biggest criticism I have heard of ASMR is its inability to actually work. Many close-minded or just plain unlucky people have found that ASMR does not result in the same response as many experience. Since so few studies have really been done on the matter, people still find the process of ASMR shady or creepy.

Despite this uncertainty about ASMR, I have found it to be nothing less than extremely beneficial and soothing in my life. Hopefully someday, more scientists will investigate further to see if it is actually as effective as it seems. But for now, if I ever get stuck in a stressful situation, I know how to melt my worries away with just the sound of a hairbrush.