Can the ASMR Vibe Be More Than a Tingle?


My first encounter with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) was a newspaper article that described the phenomenon as the “ASMR response.” I immediately became intrigued. Concepts that combine the metaphysical with science lead me to research anything I can to glean more information about the “hows” and whys” of what makes something tick.

The brief explanation I read told me that we could virtually experience something happening to someone or something else — something that gave the observer pleasant physical feedback from such stimuli, such as whispering, a smoky camera lens focus or feathers being traced along a camera lens to simulate being tickled.

The article offered a YouTube channel called “Gentle Whispering” to offer examples of what all this was about. Of course, the next step was for me to watch this video, “What is ASMR?” posted by Maria Viktorovna, who is called an “ASMRtist” (yes, that is what ASMR YouTube content creators are called). To date, this two-minute video has had 3.7 million views, and Gentle Whispering boasts 1.87 million subscribers.

The video was not disappointing. Maria lulled me with her lovely Russian-tinged accent, her well-manicured hands, and her pretty face. She tapped her polished fingernails along a wooden brush, blew into microphones from one of my ears to the other, peered at me through a filtered camera lens, and “brushed” my face with a large, fluffy make-up brush. The sounds, the “feel” of the face brushing, the lovely voice, and the calm ambiance of the video “had me at hello!”

What is it about ASMR that has drawn millions of viewers all over the world to tune such video channels — and even visit ASMR spas? Because it just plain feels good. The autonomous reaction we get from watching someone else have their hair played with or having their forearm lightly traced replicates those actual happenings, and we become a virtual participant in the role plays that ASMRtists offer us. Most ASMR fans describe the physical reaction to what they witness as “tingles” that begin at the base of their skull, and run down their spine in an enjoyable, pleasurable manner. This is not to be confused with a sexual response, as much as some ASMR naysayers would like to bring up.

What I appreciate about ASMR, and the content ASMRtists share, is the incorporation of all five senses and how effectively our five senses become activated. Essential oil bottles are wafted in front of our noses, and our imaginations can smell the scent. A brush is virtually traced along our temples, and we can feel our headaches lessen. The sounds of tapping, whispering, quiet music or singing bowls can engage our hearing and create rest. A video shows us how to make a recipe, and our mouths water as we can imagine tasting the dish being cooked up. And the visuals — colors, textures, lighting — all develop an ambiance of pure bliss, and for a while, we feel at ease, pampered, and well.

What I have learned over the years of watching ASMR productions is that these techniques can help me and my clients experience a more profound meditation. They are another tool to help deal with chronic pain, or lessen anxiety or depression. I have referred clients to YouTube channels that I feel offer quality content that will assist them with issues in a pleasant way without involving the use of drugs.

ASMR has helped me create my own content on my YouTube channel, and that helped me to stay relevant and in touch with my clients during this time of not being able to physically work with them.

The “waking up” of the five senses, the attention to breath, the genuine offerings of role plays that allow us to “live” in a space of well-being, and the possibilities of business owners to create content of their own are exciting. I honestly feel that the vibrations of the ASMR response will assist people in feeling physically, mentally and spiritually integrated. Try it. You just might like it!

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Nicole DePalma
Nicole DePalma, MS, LMT, is the owner of MindfulMotion Pilates, Wellness and Ayurveda located in Hastings, MN. Nicole provides Pilates equipment, fitness and nutrition instruction to clients of all ages and abilities. Nicole is versed in various types of massage and Ayurvedic services and consultations. Please contact her at [email protected], or by calling or texting to 651.318.9168. Her YouTube channel and Instagram handle is Everyday Ayurveda722.


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