Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ASMR and That Tingling in my Spine: Why I go to Bed With Bob Ross

Photo source: Pixabay

What is ASMR?

You know that tingly feeling you get in the back of your head or up your spine when you get a haircut or a massage? That pleasurable tingle and feeling of relaxation has a name:  ASMR  (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.) The term ASMR was coined in 2010 to give name to the sensation few people talk about or can even describe. It doesn't have a scientific name yet, nor has it been studied. It is speculated that the sensation is caused by a release of dopamine, but it is hard to research a a neurological "feeling."

The best description I have seen of ASMR is "sounds that feel good." But ASMR is not just auditory; the feel good tingles can be triggered by sights, taste and touch, too.

ASMR viewers credit the videos with curing many ailments from insomnia to post traumatic stress disorder. One fan wrote, "ASMR videos have changed my sleep for the better so drastically. I've always had a hard time falling asleep, and it's pretty amazing what difference just some whispers and gentle sounds can make. I love the ASMR community!"

YouTube and ASMR

ASMR videos are a YouTube sensation with over 1,400,00 videos dedicated to to the tingly sensation. It is triggered by different sights and sounds in different people, and YouTube caters to them all. Some videos are of crinkling gift wrap or origami paper, some are fingers tapping on glass, but most are of women whispering while acting out a scene.

Many videos are dedicated to receiving a virtual massage or watching a real one. Virtual haircuts, hair brushing, and make-up application are just a few of the most popular offerings. Role playing videos run the gamut from doctor's appointments to the process of passport application.


Yes, I DO sleep with Bob Ross

Do you remember the soft spoken painter Bob Ross who painted happy little clouds and trees on PBS? Though he died seven years ago, his videos are regaining popularity  with people looking for the ASMR tingle.

I imagine many people watched Bob's show when it originally aired not just for his amazing painting techniques, but also because his voice was so calm and relaxing.  How many of his fans were mesmerized by the gentle tap, tap, tap of his paintbrush and the occasional  quiet scraping on the canvas.

Watch one of his videos and you too will want to go to bed with Bob Ross.

GentleWhispering, ASMR Superstar

Maria, a Russian woman whose user name is GentleWhispering, is the reigning superstar of soothing videos. A single one of her whispered, simulated haircut videos has over 13 million views. In total all of her videos have been watched over 170,000,000 times

According to Maine Public Broadcasting Network , Maria says some soldiers "...share with me how much they struggle with their nightmares.. The ASMR whisper videos, they actually help them fall asleep better..."

Maria has videos which cover about every ASMR trigger possible: tapping, crinkling, hair cutting and massages. I enjoy her soothing voice and role playing so much I made a list of my My Top 5 GentleWhispering videos.

How did YOU discover ASMR?

I discovered ASMR one long, sleepless night when I thought some relaxing music would help me relax. I searched YouTube for spa music and came across a "soft whispering" video. I watched it, at first skeptical of being whispered to by a stranger. But wonders of wonder, I felt that wonderful tingling and felt the tension leaving my body. Halfway through the video, I was so relaxed that I fell asleep. I have been hooked ever since.

Whenever I have a stressful day and have trouble falling asleep, I load one of these soothing videos on YouTube and prepare for total relaxation. It is better than a sleeping pill, and there is no groggy feeling the next morning. Try it, you'll love it!

Let me know how you discovered ASMR and your favorite stars in the comments below. Have a relaxing day! :)

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