Have you heard of the autonomous sensory meridian response — ASMR? It’s the nonclinical name for a soothing tingly sensation in the head, scalp, and back that some people experience as a response to a range of sensory stimuli. It’s also a burgeoning YouTube scene. And one Maryland woman is at the center of it.
Maria — who does not reveal her last name — lives in “suburban Maryland” and produces YouTube videos for her Gentle Whispering channel designed to trigger the response in viewers. She whispers — yes, gently — into a stereo microphone as she roleplays various first-person experiences such as a haircut, a suit fitting, or a session with a physical therapist. Her most popular video has more than 7.7 million views. Her voice was even sampled by Deadmau5 for his song “Terrors in My Head.”
Mary’s non-creepazoid fans say they use her videos to treat insomnia, come down from panic attacks, or simply enjoy the mild euphoria.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Maria revealed that despite her popularity, she works a regular job to make ends meet, and has no desire to make videos full time. “If this is the only thing I have to do, it’s going to be very hard to do it on the genuine level I want,” she said.
Though there are many who anecdotally confirm the phenomenon, there yet exist “no solid data” on ASMR, leaving those who don’t personally experience it skeptical.
If you’re wondering whether you might be ASMR sensitive, try to think of instances when you feel a “shower of sparkles” — as Maria calls it — from a non-sexual sensory experience. Do you get tingly when you hear scissors snip? When you watch Bob Ross paint? When you smell a certain perfume? When the doctor checks your heart rate?
If so, congratulations, and welcome to the world of ASMR. There are many videobloggers ready to stroke your face with a peacock feather.
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