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ASMR: Triggering relaxation through sound

In the fast-paced world of college courses, club meetings and socializing, sometimes we forget to relax and take time for ourselves. Some people light candles, put on soothing music or take a long nap. Others turn to YouTube to listen to hours of crinkling paper, ear-toear whispering and head scratching to experience calming tingles and chills.

The Washington Post describes ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, as “a pleasurable tingling that begins in the head and scalp, shimmies down the spine and relaxes the entire body.”

The benefits of feeling ASMR are endless and include relaxation, ease of sleep and even lowered symptoms of depression.

YoutTubers who make these videos are called ASMRtists and have had personal experiences with ASMR themselves.

Justin Montanez, known by his YouTube name/gamer tag Fatfr33pudding, is one of the many creators of these sensory tingles, along with HeatherFeather, SoftlyGaloshes, GentleWhispering and more.

“It’s a kind of rush or feeling you get when you hear certain sounds,” Montanez said. “Examples that may trigger the feeling can range from the sound of tapping on the glass of your smartphone, to whispering in your ear and even the sounds of cutting paper and crinkling plastic.”

Montanez, 26, has been running his ASMR channel for about three years. The start came from a whim, to see if he could recreate the feeling of ASMR in others, and if he could help them through this medium. Since then, he has gained more than 24,000 subscribers and 2 million views. When he produces his videos, he does so in a way that is gender neutral as well as ageless, so all of his viewers feel included in the virtual ASMR sessions.

His most-viewed video on his channel is currently “ASMR Ear to Ear Head Scratching, Scalp Massage w/ Gloves #2,” in which Montanez does, what he calls, a “fourth-dimensional” role-play. Some of his favorite videos to make are ones that he can get into character for.

“Roleplaying is fun because I get to scratch that itch to become an actor at some point inmy career,” Montanez said.

He recently started hour-long live sessions for viewers in Europe and U.S/ Canada. Members can interact with Montanez through chat while enjoying the themed ASMR trigger choice of that video.

Montanez enjoys seeing the support of his fans as well as meeting them.

“I get to show them a bit of the person behind the camera who’s been able to help them relax or feel better,” he said. “Most importantly, I get to hear their stories.”

About The Author

Allie Taylor

Allie Taylor is a rising senior in the journalism program, and has dedicated most of her life to writing (whether scooping stories on campus, or practicing her creative fiction). She can recite the entirety of Bo Burnham’s “What?” and loves marathons… of Netflix, of course. When Taylor is not in the newsroom, you can find her rehearsing with the cast and crew of S(He) Will Fade, drinking her weight in coffee at Starbucks or burrito-ing herself in a blanket in her dorm room.

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