I thought I’d confuse you with a nice little acronym today. ASMR.
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. You see now why it’s easier to refer to ASMR for short!
ASMR is the bizarre kind of tingly feeling you can experience in your scalp which then travels down your spine and into your limbs when coming into contact with certain stimuli. It can be very difficult to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it before.
Scientists think that endorphins in the brain are the primary cause of this sensation.
It is thought that babies are the first to recognise this feeling. A sense of trust has to be instilled in the receiver before it can be experienced and what better example of this than that first parent-child bond – the ultimate feel-safe emotion. The closeness experienced by parent and child causes relaxation, sometimes followed by sleep.
As animals love to groom each other, so too do human beings love physical touch and the resulting sensations brought about.
The experience of such sensations can carry on throughout childhood and into adulthood but it is not always fully understood nor is there realisation that the sensation has a name. Only later in life do individuals tend to realise that they have indeed experienced ASMR and that it actually has a scientific term associated with it.
ASMR is often attempted to be triggered by others through pictures or sounds … think of certain soundtracks that evoke emotion within you. Or images that tug at your heartstrings. And although there are often attempts to automatically trigger ASMR, usually the triggers vary from person to person. So what may work for one may have no effect on another.
The most common ASMR trigger is said to be whispering or talking softly. But other things can recreate the feeling. Some report triggers such as watching people perform certain monotonous tasks like folding fluffy, freshly laundered towels, or tasks like food preparation. Other individuals experience ASMR by hearing a repetitive noise such as the pages of a book being turned or even listening to chewing, crunching or slurping food. Physical touch can also bring on the sensation. Acts of personal attention can induce the feelings through acts such as massages, manicures and hair brushing etc.
The benefits of experiencing ASMR
So it’s all very nice – this ASMR. But do we *need* to experience it?
Of course you don’t need to *do* anything. However such a sense of pure joy and relaxation should not be underestimated. When experiencing ASMR, stress is reduced, blood flow is increased, digestion is better and mood is improved. All of these attributes can be key for those wishing to lose weight too. It brings about a real sense of health and wellbeing. Many compare the feelings to those experienced when practicing meditation or mindfulness. And most importantly all of the benefits are significant contributory elements for initiating sleep.
The discovery of ASMR and its assignation of name is pretty new. Having experienced it myself, I have been interested to read more about it. I’m certainly looking forward to learning more as the research and studies continue.