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Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is one of the weirdest syndromes reported by some persons. Though it was noticed a long time ago, scientists were not particularly interested in it until recently, probably because the persons who experience it do not describe it as a complaint, but as a pleasant feeling. Here are some interesting facts about this phenomenon, based on the results of the studies conducted so far.

Symptoms Of ASMR

Persons who are able to experience this sensation often try to trigger it in order to achieve the feeling it offers. They often say that it feels relaxing, and patients with chronic pain also state that it can offer pain relief. Sensations reported include tingling in the scalp area, which may propagate towards the spine or shoulders. The majority of persons classify these sensations as very pleasant. The episode of ASMR can last from several seconds to several minutes, and after that, a feeling of nausea is very common. However, each episode contributes to improved mood and a feeling of happiness and wellbeing, which lasts for several hours. For researchers interested in this phenomenon, it was very hard to assess the symptoms, as in rare occasions it can be triggered in front of the eyes of the researchers. Instead, scientists mainly based their research on the videos of persons filming themselves while having this experience.

The first episode of ASMR usually occurs during childhood, mostly between the ages of 5 and 10. According to results of the research study published in PeerJ journal in 2015, the first episode of ASMR occurs after the age of 18 only in 10% of the cases.

Triggers Of ASMR

Triggers of ASMR episodes are numerous, but they differ from person to person. Most commonly, they include whispering, unusual sounds, and paying close attention to something (similar to meditation techniques). There are also extreme cases when laughing or the sound of the vacuum cleaner triggers the episode. It is also interesting that more than 80% of persons said that they most easily come into this state while trying to fall asleep. The possibility to trigger the ASMR episode seems to be dependent on the environment, as it mostly occurs in the quiet conditions in which it is easy to relax.

Causes Of ASMR

The causes of ASMR are unknown. There is even no estimation about whether there is one cause, or several. It appears that there is a genetic predisposition for the ability to experience this phenomenon, given that some cases of familial occurrence have been found. It is hard to estimate which environmental factors could have the impact on developing ASMR, since it appears at a very young age.

ASMR is one of the most interesting phenomena in human medicine. As it has a positive effect on the mood and pain relief, there is a growing interest among scientists to further investigate what is the exact cause and how it can be induced and used in persons with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Safety issues of experiencing ASMR have not yet been discussed due to lack of evidence. Future research will certainly offer more information about all the aspects of this phenomenon.

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