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22 Apr 2019, Edition - 1378, Monday

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ASMR – lowering volume to feel good

Archana Rohit

Billions of people are hooked to videos of people whispering into the camera. These videos do not have extraordinary content. Usually, people undertake very dull tasks like crinkling paper, dusting the mike, spraying water from a bottle, clapping, tapping and some will indulge in role play. Technophiles have found this craze since 2015. If you have not heard of it, you are missing out. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is more searched than candy and chocolate on YouTube, according to a research.

Coined in 2010, ASMR is a relaxing experience characterised by tingling sensation on the skin. It typically begins on the scalp and then moves down the body. They are also known as “brain massage”, dopamine is released by placid sights and sounds such as crackles, whisper and accents.

Don’t believe me? Check out YouTuber ASMR Darling who has over a million subscribers, as does Gentle Whispering ASMR. The channel Peaceful Cuisine has over a million subscribers.ASMR Salmon Sashimi has over 14 million views.

ASMR is intriguing as it is majorly a social media phenomenon with little or no scientific basis. People with insomnia, depression, anxiety and chronic pain have been hugely benefited by ASMR videos. According to a research, an overwhelming number (98 per cent) of study participants said they used it as an opportunity for relaxation, while 82 per cent agreed they used it to help them go to sleep. Studies are being conducted that may bring it into the realm of science and possibly practice (Lloyd, Ashdown, & Jawad, 2017).

The viewers get distracted from their stress and worrisome thoughts through a familiar set of sounds that could trigger some memories related to childhood. In some cases, it is found that watching ASMR videos on a regular basis increases positive emotional states in people who experience ASMR, says a psychologist.

Some people cannot experience anything and find the idea very “cringe-worthy” “disgusting” or “unpleasant”. Regardless of how it works, it has a huge fan base and the audience seems to be growing every day.

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