Photo courtesy of Study Breaks
Story by Nathaniel Nichols / Contributing Writer
There’s a relatively new phenomenon that has been hitting the pop-culture part of the internet. It’s called ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). ASMR is a broad term that people use to describe tingly sensations that you can get in your head, spine and throughout your limbs as you view visual and audio stimuli. When ASMR became popular, many people were hesitant to talk about it because it was considered an eccentric and bizarre topic; however, now people are more understanding when it comes to learning about ASMR.
If you head over to your favorite social media platform, you will find a plethora of videos if you search for “ASMR.” There are hundreds of ASMR categories that you can choose. One fan favorite that is seen across these videos covers the subject of personal attention, such as role-playing. The amount of creativity demonstrated in these videos is astonishing. You’ll see scenarios from someone acting like they are your doctor to someone acting like a therapist trying to help ease your insomnia. Some of the other categories that are popular involve soft whispering, eating, personal attention, tapping, smiling, laughing and more.
The ASMR community likes to call these pleasant and electrical sensations “triggers.” A “trigger” describes a euphoric feeling of electricity that pulsates throughout your body. Some experience this surge of electricity in the spine, hands and arms, but it can be prevalent throughout your entire body. These aesthetically pleasing visuals and auditory stimuli can affect the user significantly.
You might experience these “triggers” already and not even know it. You might love the feeling of having your hair cut by your hairdresser. The feeling of a hairdresser massaging your scalp and brushing your hair might send waves of tingles down your spine. This sensation is an experience of ASMR in real life without the help of an artificial environment like YouTube.
People on social media take their ASMR craft to a professional level. They purchase equipment, such as binaural microphones, that makes the experience more interactive and realistic. Some creators tell their audience to plug in their earphones, consequently encompassing a personal effect. Using editing software, people can create an artificial atmosphere with visuals and sounds. Miracle Forest utilizes this with videos that include spaceships, mythical apothecaries and an Indian Palace.
Paul, also known as Ephemeral Rift on Youtube, is an ASMR YouTuber who has a myriad of both conventional and unconventional content. He has videos of different tranquil ambiances that include waterfalls, birds singing and forest sounds. Paul plays a multitude of characters on his channel. He has one series in which he plays a character named Corvus D. Clemmons. Upon first glance, Clemmons is a character that looks very nightmarish and mysterious. As you watch and listen to the video, you will see that he displays a calm presence. He is a “plague doctor” that wears a bird beak mask that is used to cover up his old and withering human appearance. The inspiration of this character comes from the “plague doctor” outfit physicians would wear during the bubonic plague to avoid the disease while treating their patients. In this video, the plague doctor works to help you sleep at night. The plague doctor performs a series of tests that include whispering. In the middle of the video, he taps on various objects such as an IV bag filled with what looks like water. He then adds a green liquid to the IV bag, ensuring that this will help his patient sleep. This liquid acts as a placebo effect for the viewer, helping them drift away into sleep.
The effects of ASMR are subjective. Users have reported a sense of well-being from watching the videos. ASMR is not used to treat or cure diseases, but they can offer some relief for people that are experiencing mild depression and anxiety. ASMR meme videos that poke fun at the concept of ASMR can also provide a sense of escapism and laughter for viewers.
MTSU student Andrew Scott said listening to ASMR can yield many positive effects.
“ASMR is great for studying, relaxation and focusing. It helps me unwind after a long study session. I recommend it for anyone really, even if you don’t feel triggers or tingles,” said Scott.
It’s up to you to see if ASMR is worth trying. At first, it might seem strange to watch these videos, but you might end up liking them in the end.
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