ASMR – What does that mean? What is relaxing in this way?

The phenomenon of ASMR, sometimes called the “orgasm of the brain,” is making for an amazing career. And for good reason, because thanks to him you can effectively relax. But is it a way for everyone? How do you feel the gentle tingling? Psychiatrist Dr. Beata Rajba explains.

  1. What is ASMR?
  2. What does ASMR mean?
  3. How does ASMR work? If not longitude, then what?
  4. Why Relax ASMR?

The phenomenon of ASMR is a sensation of gentle tingling, agitation, and goosebumps. They can be played not only by your favorite music, but also by random sounds. These feelings come from our brain. A mysterious way to relax, ASMR, quickly received tens of thousands of YouTube videos and countless shares on social media. What is ASMR from a psychological and scientific point of view, says Dr. Beata Ragba, a psychologist from the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw.

What is ASMR?

Simply put, it is a pleasant arousal upon contact with the stimulus, starting at the head, neck or shoulders and traveling along the body. When we consciously evoke them with sounds, smells, images, or tactile sensations and focus on them, they can make us feel euphoric. These relaxing effects of sounds, slow movements, or whispers have been scientifically researched and confirmed, and not all of us are equally susceptible to them. At least 6% of the population, and perhaps to a lesser degree, many people, are inclined to synesthesia, which is the perception of stimuli from one sense as multisensory, for example, low sounds cause a sense of vibration in the body or the sensation of touching velvet.

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What does ASMR mean?

ASMR, ie Autonomous sensory meridian responseIt is the automatic response to sensory meridians. Of course, there is a lot of marketing with this name, because on the one hand, the answer is not spontaneous, it is a reaction to a stimulus, and on the other hand, the gentle and mysterious meridians are borrowed from traditional Chinese medicine, where they are energy channels connecting important places in acupuncture. Sounds good, but keep in mind that this is a purely metaphysical concept. Longitude maps were not confirmed by anatomical research, because in the 2nd century BC, when this branch of Chinese medicine was established, it was forbidden to perform an autopsy. Therefore, they must be treated as a metaphysical envelope around a phenomenon that has its own physiological and psychosomatic explanation.

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How does ASMR work? If not longitude, then what?

First of all, synesthesia, that is, the feeling of one stimulus as a sensation that stimulates the other senses. I think we’ve all experienced it when a particularly successful electric guitar or the sound of a velvety vocalist sent goose bumps down our spines. It also happens that composers consciously use this phenomenon, for example, Ludovico Einaudi plays a prepared piano with a much richer range of tones, that is, overlapping and skillfully matched vocal components, which make them multidimensional and evoke pleasant excitement in many listeners.

In this regard, the phenomenon of ASMR is in an opposite way to misophonia, better known as SSS syndrome (selective sound sensitivity syndrome), which is a reaction of physical pain that occurs upon contact with a specific stimulus, such as sharpening a knife or moving nails on the board, and also the sound of swallowing or typing on a keyboard. Both elicit physical and physical sensations, but in misophonia they are very unpleasant, and the exact opposite is true in ASMR.

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Why Relax ASMR?

Because it focuses on bodily sensations, on the “here and now”, it distracts us from disturbing thoughts. Every day we don’t realize that we rarely live in the present. Usually our thoughts go either towards the future, revealing before us a set of all possible dark scenarios, or towards the past – then we remember and try to analyze the unpleasant moments, we have disagreements with our boss or partner on our minds. This creates a lot of stress and suffering, because the brain reacts to an imaginary fight or to the fantasy of a dark scenario as if it is already happening, entering the alarm phase. Meanwhile, the “here and now” is usually fine – we live, we breathe, nothing directly threatens us, giving the body a signal to relax. The practice of focusing on the stimulus can produce shallow trance, a particularly pleasant state of calm, and block out noise, haste, or anxiety.

There are many ways in psychology and therapy to induce this condition by visualizing or focusing attention on the body or on a specific stimulus. ASMR is just a technique, but it is not imposed – the triggers differ from person to person and we have to figure it out for ourselves.

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Source: Materials from Lower Silesian University in Wroclaw

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