FEATURE - March 2020
Sound Healing & ASMR:
A Unique Method To Combat Burnout & Promote Wellness
By: Dr. Patrick Porter, Neuroscience Expert and Creator of BrainTap
Burnout is a growing mental and emotional health problem in America, one officially classified as a medical condition by the World Health Organization, referring to emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Combating burnout is difficult in a society that has forgotten how to unplug and relax from pressures and co-workers. Physical and mental relaxation have become irrelevant and so has the concept of focus. Stimuli such as texting, social media, and Alexa all compete for our focus, making concentration even more difficult than it was in my childhood. When I was twelve, my father taught a relaxation technique to my family members, one I recorded and that helped me transform from a struggling student to a three-sport athletic captain and honor roll student. This turnaround inspired an early interest in the bridge between sound, relaxation and improved focus and well-being. It even inspired BrainTap, a program I designed with scientists and mindfulness experts to help those who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, pain, or low-energy health issues.
The concept of sound healing is used to improve mental, physical, and emotional health as well as reducing stress and bolstering the immune system. Vibrational therapy uses vibrations from gongs and tuning forks to relax the mind and body. Binaural beats, also known as brainwave entrainment or braintapping, uses auditory stimulation to synchronize and balance brainwaves so they align to the frequency of a beat. Braintapping guides your mind from an awake, reactionary mind into an intuitive, creative state, then to a place where learning and healing can occur. Sound healers infer the healing effects occur because the body relaxes and blood pressure is lowered, which improves circulation and respiratory rates. It stabilizes the limbic system which is involved in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. The body is calmed, breathing becomes rhythmic, and the muscles relax.
The ASMR community has now brought sound healing to the mainstream. The term ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. The sensation is triggered by sounds as varied as tapping on thick plastic surfaces, close whispering, the crinkle of medical gloves, and newspaper pages being flipped. The triggers cause what is described as electrostatic-like tingles that travel across the scalp and back of the neck. These tingles bring a sense of relaxation and calm throughout the back and neck and soon, the entire body releases tension and relaxes. Many surmise that one of the earliest and unintentional ASMRists was Bob Ross, the painter and host of The Joy of Painting. His soothing voice, calm actions, gentle affect, and tapping on canvas was sound healing for his viewers. By now you've probably heard of ASMRists like GentleWhispering, Latte, WhispersRed and even celebrities like Cardi B and Janet Jackson are requested to create ASMR videos that utilize their slightly raspy, whispering voices and calm demeanor. Viewers around the world are bonding over the unexpected euphoric sensation they receive from hearing certain noises. They discuss the 'best' parts of the videos and express how, often, they do not make it to the video's end because the relaxation was so effective.
Given the current fascination with ASMR, it's understandable why people are now investing in the legitimacy of sound healing. Digital medicine is quickly becoming a go-to solution for enriching patient care. As more research results are published, sound therapy will become an essential part of healing protocols. With its ability to calm and relax, sound therapy helps the body stay stress-free so it can heal at an appropriate rate. With the thousands of cross-generational ASMR subscribers, it's becoming clear that relaxation and sleep aids are necessary, especially those easily downloaded or available online.
Seventy percent of the nervous system is in the brain, and so it would make sense that body healing begins there. Modern work hours are longer, technological stimuli is everywhere around us. Burnout is taking over the adult workforce as well as their children. Sound healing is a safe, simple way to revitalize and reboot your mind and health, to unplug and recharge. Whether student-age or retired, people are looking to combat burnout with a good night's sleep. They may not even realize they utilize sound healing but do so each time they watch a video from their online ASMR libraries.
Patrick K. Porter, Ph.D., is an award-winning author and speaker who has devoted his career to neuroscience and brainwave entrainment. As the creator of BrainTap®, Dr. Porter has emerged as a leader in the digital health and wellness field. BrainTap’s digital tools and mind development apps use Creative Visualization and Relaxation, a biohacking technique that has made tremendous advances in helping mental, physical, and emotional health issues. BrainTap has been praised for helping people relieve symptoms associated with stress, insomnia, pain, and much more.