You’ve likely heard the term “ASMR,” or at least seen them pop up on YouTube once or twice. Maybe you’ve got a friend who spends time checking out this niche genre of YouTube videos, or you’ve watched them yourself.
These videos typically involve someone role-playing a mundane service, like giving you a haircut, folding towels, or booking you for a day at the spa. Others feature soft sounds, like tapping fingernails, unwrapping packaging, or rain.
And oftentimes, they are performed quietly, with the “ASMRtist” — those who make ASMR videos — speaking barely above a whisper.
Essentially, these videos focus on building a feeling of intimacy.
What Are ASMR Videos Exactly?
But, what exactly is ASMR, and why are these videos so popular?
ASMR has come to represent this 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 felt it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But, if you’ve never experienced this feeling, it can be hard to describe. It’s not unlike the “chills” you might get from listening to an inspirational speech or an epic piece of music.
So, in other words, these videos are created to induce the ASMR feeling. They can help you relax, even sometimes to the point of drifting off to sleep.
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.
Are There Health Benefits to ASMR Videos?
The popularity of ASMR videos is likely due to their potential health benefits.
Sure, the feeling these videos induce is pleasant, but they provide more than that. In fact, at the very least, these videos can help viewers feel calmer and less stressed. But it looks like they might be doing more than that.
These videos could help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and insomnia — by reducing symptoms. The effects of these videos are comparable to those found in mindfulness exercises.
ASMR as a therapeutic tool is limited, thanks to the differing extent to which people experience ASMR. 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. 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.