In the age of technological advancements, apps are helping us exhale and giving much needed mental relaxation.
The next time you go for a good night’s sleep, remember to stay ‘Calm’. We are referring here to Apple’s Calm app, which has lots of sleep stories designed to relax one for a peaceful night’s sleep. The soothing tales, which mix music, sound effects and incredible voice talent, help you drift into a dreamland. It became the 2017 app of the year for its calming interface and offerings like meditation programmes, mindful music and a central meditation tab with dozens of classes, helping you to reduce anxiety and stress, and focus on happiness and self-esteem.
In the age of technological advancements, apps are helping us exhale and giving much needed mental relaxation. Apps like Calm can calibrate everything going on inside your mind and put you to sleep.
Sights and sounds are known to induce feelings and sensations in your body and mind. This relaxing sensation begins on the scalp, moves down the body and helps people relax, so much so that it can also make them fall asleep. A scratching door sound, watching the pitter-patter of raindrops, a brush movement on a microphone or watching a video of a woman eating a fried snack or pickle—all these sights and sounds trigger a feeling of euphoric tingling and pleasant relaxation, and are meant to soothe ruffled nerves. The right word to describe all this is an internet-coined phenomenon called ASMR, conceived in 2010 by Jennifer Allen who started a Facebook group dedicated to finding out more about it. The term caught on as people found this to be a pleasant experience.
For the uninitiated, ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. No medical or psychological research has so far proved this. But recently, the University of Sheffield found that those who experienced the phenomenon had significantly reduced heart rates while watching ASMR videos compared to people who did not experience ASMR.
Even the simple task of folding clothes, brushing teeth or flipping books can make you experience ASMR. Internet searches, though, found out that the feeling is not the same for all. So if you don’t experience it first-hand, it becomes difficult to imagine it. If it does affect your body, it may give you relaxation, which might help you overcome insomnia. To experience ASMR, you can watch a video or listen to a recording.
Tracing the trend, LG created an ASMR mode for its LGG8X ThinQ, a smartphone that can capture ASMR audio. It’s a special video mode that maxes out the sensitivity of the microphones on the device.
Samsung, too, is previewing a new research experiment that uses AI and a phone case shaped like human ears to make it easier to create ASMR videos with your phone. Called aiMo, the idea is to simulate the human ear. The combination of the case and AI is able to capture richer and more enhanced sounds without professional recording devices.
Apple, too, has added four videos to its ‘Shot on iPhone’ YouTube series—titled Tapping; Scraping; Crunching; and Whispering from Ghost Forest—all between six and 10 minutes long. All the videos have been shot on an iPhone XS or XS Max.
Today, there are more than 13 million ASMR videos on the internet, which include medical examinations, haircuts, massages and folding towel tutorials. People are watching these to relax, relieve stress or sleep better. Here, we round up the most popular ASMR channels on YouTube:
* SAS-ASMR specialises in food-related ASMR videos with about 7.84 million subscribers. With a vlog channel, SAS-ASMR is known for ‘mukbang’ shows (a live online audio-visual broadcast in which a host eats food while interacting with the audience).
* ASMR Darling, also known as Taylor Darling, has about 2.42 million subscribers. She is popular for her use of ear-to-ear whispering, tapping and scratching sounds.
* Gibi ASMR has gained over two million subscribers. She is known for her softspoken roleplay and makeup videos.
* Gentle Whispering ASMR is one of the original ASMRtists. Maria Viktorovna is a Russian practitioner who has close to 1.76 million subscribers for sleep aid videos.
* Korea-based ASMR PPOMO initially started in 2013 by posting gaming content. She has about 1.93 million subscribers for her videos today.