GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, has become an internet sensation in the last few years. It’s sounds or light touch that some people find relaxing. Many people watch or listen to ASMR to go to sleep or to meditate.
“When I was growing up, my mom would braid my hair, and play in my hair and that sensation was comforting to me,” said Rachel Anderson, who performs ASMR.
Watching and listening to hair brushing is her preferred method of ASMR.
“I watched this one lady brush another woman’s hair, and just the sensation of watching her brush her hair and seeing the brush going through her hair, then all of a sudden I am so relaxed,” said Anderson.
She now performs ASMR for other people in real life. Ashley Edmisten usually just watches ASMR online but came in to see Rachel.
“Usually I have like trouble falling asleep,” said Edmisten.
Anderson uses ASMR to wind-down before bed as well.
“I can just kind of let go,” said Anderson.
The term was coined in 2010, Anderson said ASMR really took off about five years ago. Around the time it was gaining popularity, Rachel was getting ready to get married.
“He made life so much better,” said Anderson of her fiancé, Akil Williams. “He just was able to make life bigger than what it ever could ever be.”
The wedding planning was underway. She was picking out her wedding dress, a day that is normally filled with happiness, when she got the call.
“I got the call that he had passed away,” said Anderson.
Williams was playing basketball with friends when a sudden heart attack took his life.
“I literally had to take the wedding dress back, and then pick out what I was wearing to his funeral the same week,” said Anderson. “It’s been almost nine years, but it could be yesterday with just that feeling.”
Sleeping became hard after her loss. Dreams taunted her, keeping her awake, or keeping her asleep.
“A lot of it was just after having dreams about him and not being able to sleep and not being able to wake up from certain dreams,” said Anderson. “They were so real. I was saving his life. I’d be doing CPR on him.”
As the dreams still happened, she turned to ASMR. Those simple sounds and motions of hair brushing relaxing her, bringing her back to simpler times and allowing her to rest.
“It helps with depression. It helps with your sensations, just kind of allow you to say, ‘okay I’m in this moment,’” said Anderson.
Now, she hopes to heal others by doing ASMR. The sounds and light touches, she hopes will heal other heavy hearts.
A study done by the University of Sheffield in England, reports people who use ASMR can have lower heart rates when watching the videos, more positive emotions and fewer signs of stress.