ASMR is the new wellness therapy that'll help you deal with stress and anxiety

Take note.

15 Sep 2019

Forget about reiki, crystal therapy and reflexology, this Autumn, the hottest new wellness therapy everyone will be raving about is ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), a sensory experience best described as a tingling sensation that travels down the body. While it’s still in its infancy, ASMR is swiftly gaining momentum and it’s about to hit the mainstream.

ASMR typically takes place through videos where an individual emulates everyday scenarios. Whether it’s whispering voices, the sound of mundane tasks such as crinkling wrapping paper, or the sensation of someone playing with your hair, the aim of ASMR is to trigger a feeling of deep relaxation in viewers.

While it might all sound a bit woo-woo, Emma WhispersRed, a sound therapy practitioner and Reiki healer, swears by it. After a car accident left Emma with PTSD, she discovered ASMR and has since become one of the world’s most popular ASMRtists. She runs three successful YouTube channels, regularly hosts ASMR events including exhibitions, spa days and theatre performances, and she even has a music album in the works.

Now Emma is on a mission to share the benefits of ASMR. From reduced stress and anxiety to improved sleep and enhanced self-awareness, the physical and mental benefits of ASMR are nothing short of life-changing. Here’s are all the ways you can incorporate it into your daily life…

Anxiety

For anxiety or panic attacks, depending on the severity I would suggest using a downloaded video file either on its own or combined with your personal attention/ self-soothing techniques. If you are able to have someone do them to you that is great, but on your own works too. You can be your own comforter just as effectively as you would comfort another person.

Stress

ASMR is a wonderful preparation tool before a stressful event, such as exams, a nerve-wracking social situation, interview or meeting, or before public speaking. These are situations where a little ‘good stress’ will help give you some adrenaline to improve your performance; however, your fight or flight response is not so helpful and can prevent you from performing adequately. ASMR can also be used after these events to wind down, either in video form, with self-soothing techniques or both.

Pregnancy and labour

So many people tell me how they’ve used ASMR throughout pregnancy and during labour, particularly in labour when lots of eye and a soft motherly voice are very supportive. I would suggest again choosing a creator with whom you feel a close connection, perhaps even one with their own children as you’ll know they have been through the same as you, and watching a long video including lots of positive affirmation, soft flowing sounds and a caring steady voice throughout.

Loss

Losing a loved one is a stressful event with so many differ- ent responses and processes involved. Use the power of ASMR for company, positive affirmation and as some- thing to focus your pain onto and to receive comfort in return. You can imagine you have told the ASMRtist your story and are receiving a kind response.

Pain

ASMR is very often used to help cope with physical pain. This could very well be working on a physiological level if we consider what the experience of the tingly sensation might be and which hormones are possibly produced during relaxation. We can at least safely assume that it is a distraction from some types of pain and a chance to refocus the mind on something else.

Loneliness

If you regularly watch a creator who is caring and speaks ‘kindly’, it can be a huge positive for you when you do not experience others speaking to you that way in your day-to-day life. Many people you come across in your day may not have the time to do this. An ASMR video can be used in the background while completing household tasks in the same way that the radio or a podcast can; it’s just a more relaxing and slow version.

Confidence and positivity

ASMR is a natural confidence booster. Positive and affirming videos can combat social anxiety and positively affect how we feel about ourselves. The creator has devoted their time to you and they care about your wellbeing. Similarly, someone applying the techniques on you is good for your positive self-image. Knowing that they want to spend their time with you is a lovely feeling.

This is an edited extract from Unwind Your Mind by Emma WhispersRed, published by Rider Books, out now. For more information visit www.penguin.co.uk