ASMR phenomenon: Millions of people listening to everyday sounds on YouTube to relax

Videos include people who whisper, eat, drink, tap, scratch, role play

DETROIT – People are always looking for new ways to relax and destress from their everyday lives, and some are finding help on YouTube.

It's something called autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR.

"Some people do, like, tapping videos where they're just tapping on different objects," said Elissa Kedziorek, who uses ASMR. "Some people do role play videos, so it will actually be like you're going to a doctor's office and they'll pretend to be a doctor."

ASMR is a YouTube phenomenon. It includes videos of people who whisper, eat, drink, tap, scratch and role play. Millions of people watch the videos.

"I only do it before I go to bed," Kedziorek said. "I do it to go to sleep, because it not, I'll just lay awake and worry. I have to, like, focus on something in order to fall asleep."

Kedziorek said she discovered ASMR by accident a couple of years ago, and she got hooked.

"For me, it's just, like, euphoric," Kedziorek said. "It kind of puts me in a trance-like state where I'm just calm."

Deja Green, like many other fans, was initially reluctant to share her unusual interest with her friends.

"I enjoy chewing videos," Green said. "My friends just kind of think I'm weird and they just kind of think that, 'Oh that's Deja,' but they don't just me for it or anything like that."

Dr. Howard Schubiner, the founder of the Mind and Body Medicine Program at Providence Hospital, said he sees ASMR as mindfulness meditation with a twist.

"Mindfulness is paying attention to something in the moment to allow your brain to focus and to be calm," Schubiner said. "So it makes perfect sense. It's just another way of getting at it."

Green said she remembers as a child being pleased by the sound of chewing, which she also found a little disturbing.

"But then I found these videos where thousands of people have the same feeling that I do when they hear someone chewing," Green said. "Like you said, I'm not alone."

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