A new trend in relaxation
Trends tend to come and go, but one emerging trend in relaxation appears to be making its way onto the scene through viral videos.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is described as "a physical sensation characterized by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp, and often moves down the spine and through the limbs," according to the ASMR research and support website.
There are two types of triggers that activate the sensation, the internal and the external, according to the ASMR website.
The internal triggers are elicited through specific thought patterns unique to the individual, while the external triggers vary between some people, but can include such stimulants as slow and unique speech patterns or someone touching your head or back.
"I always got that sensation when I got a haircut, and I never really knew what it was called," says Santa Monica College student Matt Kudzevich. "I just thought it was like getting goosebumps. It is a great feeling. I would think that they would figure out a way to market and sell it to the stressed-out college students."
A popular YouTube channel with the username VeniVidiVulpes produces ASMR videos that show a young woman using a soft voice and other sounds to attempt to give off the relaxed sensation.
"After watching the video, I see the interest for some people. However, they are not for me," says SMC student Jacqueline Ramirez.
"It honestly seems that they are some sort of fetish videos, either that or videos or some kind of perverts," says Ramirez.
While it may seem strange to some, one specialist believes it may actually help others to relax.
"The most important part of stress relief is to keep the mind occupied by non-stressors, so if certain activities stimulate the sensors in your body then it is an effective therapy," says Dr. Edward J. O'Connor, neurologist at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles.
According to O'Connor, one possible reason why this method has not been officially researched and properly funded is that each stimulant of each individual could be different and there would be no way to pinpoint which specific stimulants work on different people.
The overall effectiveness of ASMR is not yet clear, but thanks to YouTube, it is receiving attention and may become the next new trend in relaxation.