Have you ever felt tingling in your neck and spine after hearing someone whisper? Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is the sensation many people experience after hearing sounds such as whispering, rustling, or brushing. For those who experience this response, the sensation can be deeply relaxing. Recently, ASMR has become mainstream with YouTube videos depicting a person doing a monotonous task while whispering a narrative or role playing an innocuous activity. These videos potentially provide a method for those plagued by sleeplessness and high anxiety to relax and begin to rest.
While the followers of these ASMR methods claim great relief, you may not want to ditch your old sleep aid just yet. Little research has been done to study these sensations other than anecdotally, and not everyone experiences this response. A few theories for the mechanism of ASMR have been proposed related to the repetitiveness of the task that helps followers of ASMR to relax and unwind. Perhaps it is the soothing quality of the person’s whispering that is comforting to the viewer. This interesting approach could potentially be a non-pharmacological method of achieving relief from insomnia and stress, but more research should be done. Try out a video for yourself and see if you experience a response. Here is a link to one of the most popular YouTube Video
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Pain/Fatigue Research Lab at UF