ASMR stands for the autonomous sensory meridian response which, in short, is the tingling sensation you get when you hear just the right sound or see a perfectly soothing visual. It's commonly described as a "low-grade euphoria" and plenty of YouTubers have mastered the art of to give you these tingles right from your phone or computer.
Now, as most of us are aware, the Google Daydream is a portable VR device that you can plug your phone into. You can combine the art of ASMR with Google Daydream by downloading the YouTube app to your phone and watching it on your VR device. This gives you a hands-free way of experiencing maximum relaxation from anywhere you'd like.
So, whether you've never tried ASMR before or you're already an avid follower, it let me tell you how watching these videos through the Google Daydream will absolutely change your life.
How does it work?
A few quick searches on Google shows that not everyone is capable of feeling the tingles from ASMR through videos, but a decent amount of people are. These sensations pulled from artificial situations are triggered when your favorite part of a song plays or even that deeply touching moment of your favorite movie or show. The feeling is very hard to describe, even as someone who can experience it. What I can say is that the sensation is very similar to the way you feel when someone slides their fingers slowly across your back or someone using one of those metal head-scratchers on you.
I'm an avid believer that everything to do with the sensation of feeling is amplified when you are not the one doing it. For instance, brushing the knots out of your hair doesn't hurt half as much as someone else brushing those same knots out of your hair. This goes in the opposite spectrum as well, tingling sensations and goosebumps are experienced that much better when you're not the one doing it. ASMR taps into this field by giving you the same way to feel this sensation without having to scratch your own back, per say.
This low-grade version of euphoria is mad relaxing and, because of this, is spiraling into popularity on YouTube. Basically, whether you need to wind down after a long day at work or need some help getting to sleep ASMR can swoop in like the superhero you need and be super conveniently accessed by your phone.
The benefits of ASMR in virtual reality
Let me start off first by saying there are levels to ASMR on YouTube. You can easily find videos of sound only that emulate getting haircuts, head massages or other white noises to get you to that relaxation state. While these videos are fun to enjoy, it's the ones with visual stimulation that will change your life combined with the Google Daydream. Visual effects could be anywhere from them pretending to caress your face with make-up brushes or a number of role-play videos you can find.
Some nights you're so tired or wound up that you just want to hear the music because you don't feel like holding up your phone. Other nights you might wanna see the visual so you stand there holding your phone above your head (and running the risk of dropping it on your face. Doh!) But, what if you didn't have to make a decision?
By plugging your phone into your Google Daydream and strapping that VR headset to your face you eliminate every need for holding anything. Not to mention the level of immersion you get from these videos when you're earbuds are in and all you have to do is load up YouTube and lay back.
Tl:dr: you need to try this out
I tested this a few nights ago and it changed my life. I was halfway through one video when I felt my eyes drooping to sleep. No matter how many times I kept telling myself I'd take the headset off just before I fell asleep, nothing prepared me for waking up confused as to when the sun came up. Never in my life had I reached that deep of a level of relaxation without having to go to a Spa or getting a message.
Science can't really explain why we get these feelings from ASMR, where it comes from or how it happens. Guess it's to the same conclusions that they don't know why some people can't either. If you're someone who can't, these videos are probably gonna seem super weird to you. But don't knock your friends for liking it, ASMR is another form of meditation to find relaxation in an easy-to-find outlet. If it helps, it helps.
I've linked an example of ASMR above here for you to test out. Throw on your headphones, close your eyes and relax. Plenty of my friends and loved ones have attested to how much ASMR helps their anxiety or just generally getting their brain relaxed when they're wound up due to overstimulation. So even if you run a tight schedule and need a moment of relaxation to shut off from the day or you just want to experience this mild form of euphoria, get your Google Daydream ready and load up YouTube.
You'll thank me later.
Have you ever tried ASMR and, if so, what are your favorite videos? I'm also interested in hearing your reasons for listening to or watching ASMR! Have you tried it in VR? Tell us in the comment section below!
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Essa Kidwell is an expert in all things VR and mobile devices who can always be found with an Oculus Go, a Pixel 2, and an iPhone 7+. They've been taking things apart just to put them back together for quite some time. If you've got a troubleshooting issue with any of your tech, they're the one you want to go to! Find them on Twitter @OriginalSluggo or Instagram @CosmeticChronus.