Can Sensation Psychology of ASMR Improve Your Health?

ASMR might not be an entirely new concept, but more people are turning to this unique stress management method. Find out what ASMR is, common ASMR triggers, and its positive effects of stress on the body.

Most people can relate to feeling a little (or a lot) stressed and/or having a hard time feeling relaxed in current times. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or simply ASMR, is one way to help improve relaxation and an increased calm feeling. 

The benefit of lowered stress and increased relaxation with ASMR may expose more specific benefits. These include lowered feelings of stress, better sleep quality, and even shedding some weight.

But how could ASMR help your weight loss journey or other aspects of your life? Learn the meaning of ASMR and see how it may actually be able to improve overall health.

What Does ASMR Mean?

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a recently coined term to capture sensation psychology: The relaxing, calming feeling in the brain from various visual and auditory stimulation. While the term ASMR has only been used since about 2010, the concept of ASMR to promote relaxation and calmness has been used for years with people around the world.

According to the ASMR University, ASMR can lead to feelings of relaxation, calmness, drowsiness, and even tingling sensations in the brain. 

ASMR Triggers

An ASMR trigger is whatever auditory and/or visual cue gives you the sense of calming and relaxation in the brain. Triggers can vary from person to person, so if you are experimenting with ASMR try different triggers. 

Common themes with ASMR triggers include:

  • Receiving calm, focused attention from a kind person
  • Seeing gentle movements or kind facial expressions
  • Low volume sounds like soft-spoken whispering or brushing
  • Light touching of hair, arms, or back like a spa treatment or gentle massage

Examples of Common ASMR Triggers

  • Getting a haircut
  • Tapping or crinkling sounds
  • Whispering
  • Watching someone doing something interesting without feeling threatened (watching someone paint, open packages, and other role-playing)

There are many videos and even podcasts with various ASMR. A search using “ASMR” will provide many different types of ASMR videos and listening channels.

Effects of Stress on the Body

Chronic stress can affect physical, emotional, and mental health. Stress can be associated with increased risk for many negative physical symptoms and health conditions such as type 2 diabetes in women, high blood pressure, and obesity. It can also weaken the immune system and cause fatigue, sleep problems, lack of focus, and feelings of depression or anxiety.

According to an October 2020 article from the American Psychological Association, stress from the pandemic, political tensions, financial and health concerns contribute to growing stress levels for many Americans. As stress levels are rising, more and more people are looking for ways for stress relief like ASMR.

The good news is negative effects of stress responses can be managed. In addition to implementing ASMR, other ways to manage stress include: 

  • Getting outside
  • Exercising
  • Deep breathing
  • Reading a book
  • Eating a nourishing diet
  • Practicing yoga or meditation
  • Listening to music

Finding and implementing stress management methods can be important to mitigate the consequences of high-stress levels. 

How ASMR Helps Health

Listening to and/or watching ASMR triggers can release the feel-good hormone oxytocin in the brain. When oxytocin is released, it stimulates feelings of calmness and relaxation. 

Research supports ASMR as a viable way for stress relief. A 2018 study concluded ASMR is a reliable way many may experience therapeutic benefits for mental and physical health. ASMR is a relatively new recognized process, and research is ongoing for the benefits of ASMR.

ASMR may not be a one size fits all approach. People with certain personality traits may benefit more from ASMR than others. A 2017 study concluded people who score high for openness to experience and neuroticism may benefit most from ASMR. 

If trying ASMR and feeling it does not work to bring relaxation, try another stress-relieving technique. 

Can ASMR Help with Weight Loss?

Increased chronic stress may lead to lack of sleep, changes in eating habits, and lowered desire to exercise. All these and other factors can link stress with the potential risk of carrying extra weight. 

Therefore, anything that can help lower stress or promote relaxation, may help with weight regulation by positively affecting sleep, eating, and exercise habits. However, the direct effect on ASMR and weight loss has not been studied. 

Anything that can help lower stress may help with weight regulation depending on other factors of energy intake, lifestyle, genetics, etc.

The Bottom Line

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) can be an effective stress management tool to include in your arsenal. With so many resources available online, ASMR is easily accessible to give a try and use. 

Overall, though, find stress-relieving techniques that work best for you and your health. If struggling to manage chronic stress, seek out professional assistance and guidance.