by Nicole Beaver
Have you ever had someone whisper in your ear? It always comes with a tingling sensation in your brain, running down your body. While whispering isn’t the cause of this feeling, there is something going on that triggers the tingling. It’s some- thing we tend not to notice but the sensation is low-grade and euphoric, similar to a static-like sensation. It can’t be bad, so what is it exactly? Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) has started to make ripples in the New Wave and Millennial communities, though it is not widely known by many people within these groups. Comparable with auditory-tactile synthesia, it’s commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual, or digital media stimuli. The term came to life in February 2010, and although it caused a lot of controversy at first, it has since become the new face of relaxation. ASMR triggers are normally categorized by specific sorts of stimuli. These include whispering, quiet and repetitive sounds (such as turning the pages of a book), watching someone prepare food, or receiving altruistic and personal attention (such as a medical checkup). These triggers, along with others, are now being utilized in a new way—an almost unexplored area of rest and relaxation that not many have even considered. My curiosity was piqued when I read about it, and I did research to see if any efforts have been made to harvest this new idea. I came across a surprising amount of YouTubers who do this regularly. Albeit, there were some videos where the concept of ASMR was so sexualised that the concept was lost, something that I personally do not understand. I then found a group called “Whisperlodge.” Founded and run by Andrew Hoepfner, Melinda Lauw, Steph Singer, and Chia Lynn Kwa, this group makes the ASMR immersive by means of a rented house and miscellaneous dollar-store items. Situated in the United States, the group has been making ripples in social media after Buzzfeed workers went out for a session of their own. The video, titled “We Went to an ASMR Spa,” is available on YouTube. The group offers “the very first in-person immersive experience,” and on their website, more information can be found along with tickets for upcoming events. Unfortunately, this is limited to the United States only but the group is hoping to broaden their reach across borders in the future. I’m really hoping that this new (and relatively cheap) way of receiving a relaxing experience explodes into our modern culture. I’d like to call this one of the final frontiers of spa experiences but that would be pushing it. We are learning more and more every day about ways to rejuvenate ourselves and cleanse our minds and bodies. Though ASMR is still largely unmapped, people are finding it to be useful even in terms of aiding sleep and meditation practices. I’m looking forward to seeing how far Whisperlodge is able to bring this new experience!