Have you heard of “ASMR” yet?
If you’ve spent any time on YouTube lately, you’ve likely seen videos pop up labeled with the acronym. Maybe you’ve got a friend who raves about this niche genre, or maybe you watch them yourself.
So, what are ASMR videos, exactly? And what makes these videos so popular?
What Are ASMR Videos?
The term ASMR has come to represent a niche genre of video, but it’s actually an acronym: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a euphoric tingling sensation that usually begins at the top of your head and often spreads down the back of the neck and upper spine.
If you’ve never experienced this feeling, it can be hard to describe — but it’s not unlike the “chills” you might get from listening to an epic piece of music or an inspirational speech.
So, in other words, these videos are created to induce that ASMR feeling. They can help you relax, even sometimes to the point of drifting off to sleep.
These videos typically involve someone role-playing a mundane service, like giving you a haircut, folding towels, or even coloring. Oftentimes, these are performed quietly, with the “ASMRtist” — those who make ASMR videos — speaking in a hushed tone barely above a whisper.
Others might not have any talking at all, and only feature soft sounds, like tapping fingernails or rain.
Essentially, these videos focus on building a feeling of intimacy.
In recent years, this “niche” has actually become more than that. They’re actually becoming pretty popular, with many popular ASMRtists boasting over one million subscribers. Some of their most popular videos have garnered more than 20 million views.
How ASMR Videos Can Help With Mental Health
The growing popularity of ASMR videos is likely due to their mental health benefits.
Sure, the feeling these videos induce is pleasant, but they seem to be doing more than that for viewers. In fact, at the very least, these videos can help viewers feel calmer and less stressed.
These videos are helping those suffering from depression, anxiety, and insomnia — by reducing symptoms.
Of course, the effects don’t match those of medication and therapy, but they are comparable to those found in mindfulness exercises. That means that they can be used in conjunction with other treatments to see even more positive results.
Unfortunately, ASMR as a therapeutic tool is limited, thanks to the differing extent to which people experience ASMR. In other words, it doesn’t work for everyone across the board. But for those who do experience it, it can be extremely helpful.
At the moment, there’s a lack of legitimate scientific research on ASMR, so it’s difficult to say for sure just how helpful ASMR video can be in treating mental health. However, the scientific community is beginning to recognize it as a worthy phenomenon to study.
For now, it’s obvious that it could be an effective tool for people who can experience it. It can help reduce stress, calm nerves, induce euphoric feelings, and even lower heart rates.