You feel a shiver run through your body when the hairdresser brushes your hair, you relax when someone whispers softly to you or you calm down listening to the crackle of paper. These are all examples of ASMR. In this article we explain what ASMR is, how it arises and what the benefits are.
What is ASMR?
ASMR, short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a fancy term for the nice and relaxing tingling sensation you occasionally experience on your head, scalp or the rest of your body. Not everyone is able to experience this, but it is felt by many people worldwide and it is becoming an increasingly popular way to relax.
You can experience it both physically and psychologically. The most common bodily sensations, as mentioned above, are brain tingling, sometimes described as sparkling or static. Relaxation appears to be the most common psychological sensation during ASMR experiences.
How does ASMR arise?
In order to experience it, something has to happen to trigger the sensation. Examples of common triggers include someone whispering softly to you, playing with your hair, or slowly opening a package. Triggers are very personal and there is a whole range of things that can stimulate ASMR. This may include sounds, touches, observing another person, or getting another person’s attention.
The influence of oxytocin in ASMR
Oxytocin, also known as the ‘trust hormone’ or ‘love hormone’, plays an important role in ASMR. As mentioned above, ASMR can be triggered by certain actions that someone performs. Observing another person opening a package, for example, can increase the production of oxytocin. Research shows that the production of oxytocin makes people feel calmer and happier. Their anxiety and stress levels also drop.
The benefits of ASMR
ASMR has several advantages. The various benefits people experience as a result of ASMR are explained below.
Relaxation is probably the most frequently cited benefit of an ASMR experience. For example, after a busy day, the soothing tones and gentle touches of ASMR triggers can ease the tension in your shoulders and calm your grinding thoughts. This applies to people of all ages.
Less stress and anxiety
There are many people who experience stress at some point in their lives. This is not only an unpleasant feeling, but it can also lead to health problems. It can be a tool to reduce stress and anxiety. It can help you to become calm and okay again.
Many people suffer from sleep deprivation. This can be due to the temptation and light of electronic devices in bed, challenges at work, deadlines to meet, or day-to-day worries and responsibilities, among other things. Insomnia can make you feel drowsy during the day. For example, a lack of quality sleep can result in poorer learning or memory and increasing problems with anxiety and depression. Practicing ASMR before going to bed can contribute to better sleep.
Less gloom and depression
Of course, almost everyone experiences a downpour from time to time, but persistent sadness is much more devastating. This can lead to eating disorders, a decreased libido, aggression, withdrawal from social life, poor self-care and low self-confidence. ASMR can help create a buffer against gloomy moments and improve your mood.
Improving overall well-being
In addition to the specific benefits mentioned above, experiencing ASMR simply makes you feel better. An ASMR session can be a relaxing moment for yourself that you look forward to. It is therefore an addition to activities that you already undertake to relax. It helps you refocus and come back to yourself when you feel overwhelmed or confused.