Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Does Your Scalp Tingle Sometimes? Unraveling the ASMR mystery.

A few months ago I shared a link on my Facebook page about that special tingly feeling that one gets at certain times.  It usually starts in the scalp, and moves down the body in response to specific stimuli. It's extremely pleasant. It reminds me of the warm, happy feeling I get from muscle relaxers times 100.  Many of my friends responded to the post with a "I have that, too!" Most didn't know that it had a name. In fact it does- Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response I didn't think much of it at the time. I did put it on my mental list of 'things to research later' which is already years long.

Fast forward to a couple months ago when I was composing the blog post about General Anxiety Disorder. One of the things that I listed to help was meditation videos. I went to youtube to find some of the best examples of these that I could find for me readers, and BAM. I stumbled upon ASMR videos. This happy sensation that I get when I watch certain people talk, or hear certain noises, and most especially when I get a massage was easily accessible via hundreds (if not thousands) of videos online.

There is not much known about ASMR, and why it affects people the way it does. Even more surprising than that is not everybody can feel it. I always assumed everyone was able to have that sensation just like I was. There is still a lot of research being done about ASMR. Some say they're still trying to validate it, because scientifically it's still not really been verified. Much like synesthesia was years ago, there are still some people that deny it exists. I really am not sure how one verifies a feeling. If a ton of people report a physical sensation then I would have to say it does indeed exist. We're not assuming paranormal explanations for this phenomenon. It is simply like being ticklish. Either you are, or you're not. Either your nervous system is capable of this phenomenon, or it isn't. There is nothing hokey about it.

So what is ASMR specifically?