ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, is a feeling of relaxation, characterised by a tingling sensation, which can be triggered by certain soothing stimuli such as whispering or the sound of crinkling fabric.
During this Tuesday morning’s Lorraine breakfast programme on ITV, Kelly and fashion journalist Mark Heyes made fun of ASMR after showing a short clip of Katy Perry taking part in an ASMR video.
“Welcome back, Katy Perry there, performing something called ASMR,” Kelly said in a whispering voice, rolling her eyes in apparent disdain.
After continuing to demonstrate ASMR, by tapping her mug and having Heyes crinkle a crisp packet, Kelly then raised her voice, stating: “Have you ever heard the most ridiculous thing in all your life?”
@lorraine why does Lorraine make fun of everything? ASMR is a great thing to listen to, very relaxing, and helps me to sleep! I am not a drinker so don’t rely on alcohol, ASMR helps millions of people to relax!— Angela Evans (@angieevans58)December 10, 2019
Furious.....#ASMR helps millions....Maybe educate yourself on the subject before you totally condemn it?— Laurie Anne C (@LAurielicious2)December 10, 2019
Kelly went on to describe ASMR as “malarkey”, despite acknowledging that there are 45 million ASMR videos on YouTube and that watching them “can help with anxiety and insomnia and stress”.
“It’s raised my anxiety because I don’t get it,” Heyes stated, while Kelly then compared the sound of ASMR to The Exorcist.
Several Lorraine viewers expressed their anger over the way in which Kelly addressed ASMR on the programme.
“Furious,” one person wrote. “ASMR helps millions. Maybe educate yourself on the subject before you totally condemn it?”
Before casting judgment on something you may not be familiar with. Try and understand how many millions of people ASMR has helped from helping people sleep to boosting self confidence due to a supportive community. Don’t ridicule the community people feel safe in.— All In The Name Of Emmerdale (@Ishipvanity)December 10, 2019
Not very sensible, ethical or kind @reallorraine @lorraine 2 talk about supporting people with #MentalHealth needs & reducing stigma &then minutes later laugh at &call scary interventions that supports our health & wellbeing #ASMR #MadPride— Not applicable (@IndigeneBriton)December 10, 2019
“ASMR really helps with my anxiety and helps me calm down due to my disability,” another said. “Honestly lots of people benefit from it.”
One viewer explained that their 12-year-old daughter suffers from anxiety, and that she finds ASMR helpful.
Someone else stated that it was “not very sensible, ethical or kind” for Kelly to discuss ASMR in that manner, especially given how she has spoken about the importance of reducing stigma surrounding mental health.
While little is known about the health benefits of ASMR, recent studies have indicated ASMR videos can prove beneficial for reducing stress.
In 2015, researchers from Swansea University interviewed nearly 500 people about their experiences of ASMR.
They concluded that ASMR ”provides temporary relief in mood for those suffering from depression, with many individuals consciously using it for this purpose” and finding that “their mood and symptoms of pain had been improved”.
A study conducted by a team from the University of Sheffield in 2018 investigated the physiology of those who claimed to experience ASMR.
The researchers found that those who said they felt the sensation experienced a reduction in their heart rate of around 3.14 beats per minute while watching ASMR videos, an effect that was said to be comparable to other forms of relaxation such as mindfulness.
The Independent has contacted ITV for comment.