While travel is all about new experiences, it can be stressful leaving your comfort zone. For those seeking ways to keep their cool on the road, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) may prove a helpful tool.
ASMR refers to a relaxing tingling sensation that often starts in your scalp and moves throughout your body, brought on by certain sounds, sights and movements. Basically, people sensitive to ASMR “feel sounds” that cause intense elation and relaxation.
ASMR probably isn’t for everyone, but it can put some people into a near coma state of sleep by watching someone run a blush brush over their camera lens while whispering the word “stipple.” When they hear sounds like heels hitting a hard floor, nails tapping a desk and the turning of magazine page, their stress often melts away.
This can be especially helpful for travelers dealing with stress and anxiety. While the term “ASMR” is recent, the phenomena itself is not.
If you ever watched the late Bob Ross, who hosted a TV show called The Joy of Painting, you may have felt the euphoria triggered by his soft voice and soothing brush strokes. Today, ASMR enthusiasts no longer need to wait until the next The Joy of Painting episode to air; there is a wealth of ASMR content on YouTube.
How does ASMR work?
Triggers are common prompts that bring about the above-mentioned tingles. Common triggers include personal attention, whispering/soft speaking, tapping, crinkling, typing, hair play, gentle touch, brushing and mouth sounds. For this reason, you’ll find many role play ASMR videos with themes like spa visits, makeup application and meditation.
ASMR and Travel Health
Many consider ASMR to be a form of meditation. Olivia Kissper, an ASMR proponent and former dream researcher and meditation teacher, calls ASMR a “passive meditation,” leading areas of the brain associated with stress and anxiety to become less active.
“Our nervous system has two operating systems —stress response, or the fight-or flight – dominated by the sympathetic nervous system and the relaxation response run by the parasympathetic nervous system,” Kissper says. “Our body has its own self-repair mechanism which only functions when the nervous system is in a relaxation response.”
ASMR claims to reduce anxiety and stress while also inducing relaxation. According to the American Psychological Association stress can lead to long-term heart issues, problems digesting nutrients, and negative “wear and tear” on the body. Moreover, Dr. Joseph Mercola notes experiencing deep relaxation can slow aging and protect against ailments like high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis.
The benefits of ASMR don’t just occur while you’re experiencing it, according to its practitioners. Regularly being triggered can lead to feeling more relaxed in general—both at home and on the road
Want to experience ASMR for yourself? The following YouTube channels are great places to start: