What is ASMR?
ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) refers to a tingling or pins and needles sensation that occurs on the scalp and the back of the neck and back. It is a pleasant sensation that aids relaxation and is most commonly triggered by visual, or more likely, auditory stimuli.
More and more evidence is being gathered to suggest that ASMR helps us fall asleep and relax; it may help with insomnia, migraines, anxiety, and depression and it can also help us focus.
ASMR and sleep
Most people who use ASMR use it to help them fall asleep. The core goal of ASMR is to induce a state of relaxation and calm with soothing sounds, whispering voices and slow, gentle movements.
The science behind ASMR videos states that listeners can experience physiological changes, such as decreased heart rate and slower breathing that emulate levels closer to sleep than consciousness.
ASMR to help with stress
Seeking relaxation is the primary use of ASMR but it can also be used in moments of high stress to help reduce the impact of a difficult situation or period of time. The soft sounds and gentle movements of ASMR allow people’s attention to drift away from things that may be bothering then and helps their body slip into a greater state of rest.
We do not need to use ASMR audio or video tracks in deliberately relaxing environments, we can tune in anywhere and at any time.
ASMR and concentration
Many people believe ASMR is of great help when you have to sit down and concentrate on a piece of work or study. The important thing is to use minimalistic ASMR with almost no voices so it is an aid to concentration rather than an distraction.
Dr. Franziska Apprich, from Queens University in Belfast, has published several studies regarding ASMR, one of these studies discussed the relationship between ASMR and education, which has shed some light regarding the use of ASMR as a studying aid. It was found that students who used ASMR felt calmer and more relaxed and as a result, they could learn more. They also became more creative and responsive when it was time to take a test. As a result, the ASMR-loving students saw better academic results.
ASMR and anxiety
There have been many ASMR videos created specifically for people experiencing anxiety. Regardless of whether or not people use ASMR with the intention of helping their anxiety, it seems the impact on anxiety levels is positive.
ASMR is most likely to help short term, day-to-day anxiety but there is not enough evidence at the moment to suggest it is the best treatment for longer term anxiety. This means it is important to use it in conjunction with one’s regular treatment for anxiety rather than as a replacement.