RELIGION: RNS] — Christi says “Hello, Hello, Helllloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hm her voice an a honelle Her long, manicured nails tap against each other as her microphone picks them up. “Today, I plan to whisper a prayer for repentance .”
But as Christi recites the prayer softly in front of a purple-tinted galactic space, the real point of the 20-minute video comes through in her floating hand movements and especially the soft tapping, designed to produce a meditative calm — akin to the soothing feeling you may get from someone whispering in your ear or running a comb through your hair — known as an autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR.
The ASMR phenomenon began on an online forum in 2007. Since then, it has exploded on YouTube and TikTok, and spawned subcultures like fast ASMR and roleplay ASMR. Some of the most popular “ASMRtists” have over 9 million followers and amass over 40 million views per video.
The Christian ASMR community is small, but dedicated to bringing their viewers closer to God through relaxation and “brain massage.” Christi, who has run her channel Christi ASMR for two years, has more than 19,000 followers and a total of 1 million views. She does not publish her last name online. )
Similar channels, Christian Whispers, run by Jessica Justice, and The Healing Word ASMR, run by Dee, who also does not share her last name, have not been around as long as Christi’s, but have already garnered thousands of followers and views each.
Don’t expect fire and brimstone coming from these Christian ASMR Gurus.
” I enjoy listening to Christian ASMR Bible verses while enjoying relaxing nature scenesries,” stated Dee. “This allows me to really meditate on God’s Word and look at God’s creation . This is a moving spiritual experience
Dee hosts The Healing Word ASMR. Courtesy photo
The ASMR sensations can be classified into psychological and physical experiences. The sensations that are physical can include light, pleasurable “brain-tingles”, fuzziness, and waves of relaxation that travel through the body. It can also produce deep, relaxing feelings of calmness, relaxation, peace, and sleepiness. These feelings are triggered by ASMR hosts using light, mouth sounds, eating, scratching, and even storytelling.
Everyone experiences ASMR in a different way, according to Richard. Richard said that some people like the sound of soft whispers and the light tapping on nails in a cardboard box. Others enjoy watching colorful lights float across their screens or watching someone draw.
On Justice’s channel, most of her videos use her voice as the trigger. In her soothing whisper, Justice has read the entirety of the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Ruth and made devotional videos focused on dealing with stress, struggling to sleep and facing tough times.
While Christi and Dee include Bible readings, both reach the viewers through role play and personal attention. In Dee’s video, titled “WWII Loving Nurse Takes Care of You,” Dee pretends to be a nurse during the war who tends to her patients with care and compassion.
” Our duties went beyond tending to wounds and illnesses,” Dee said softly over video of Dee preparing a gauze and stethoscope. “Our hearts were more important than our hands .”
” “One of the best things about ASMR is that everyone does it differently,” Justice said. “What works for one person might not work for another .”
A 2018 brain scan study, co-authored by Richard and researchers at Dartmouth College, found that ASMR can trigger regions of the brain that are associated with reward and emotional arousal.
“It’s likely that these positive moments in personal attention stimulate the release oxytocin (also known as the lovehormone) to induce the relaxing and calming feeling of ASMR,” Richard said.
In addition to its relaxing and soothing effects, a 2015 study found that this visual and auditory response has helped those with depression, anxiety and insomnia. When Justice started listening to ASMR in 2013, she found it helped to calm her severe anxiety. She stated that she doesn’t listen to ASMR as much today, but she will still turn it on if she has trouble sleeping.
Jessica Justice. Courtesy photo
Justice, 32, is located in Nashville with her husband. She plays music and takes part in worship services at her church’s worship team. This is another way she can express her love of the Lord, she said.
Some aspects of ASMR and religion overlap, said Richard. A similar phenomenon to ASMR is when someone has a religious experience, or prays to a higher power. This could be because they are receiving positive, loving attention from a caring or loving entity.
In a 2016 study, researchers at the University of Utah found that areas of the brain associated with reward and emotion were activated when devout Mormons engaged in devotional practices. Richard said that similar brain regions are likely to be active during religious experiences or ASMR when comparing this study with the ASMR brain scanner research.
” Both of these moments can lead to the same outcome — feeling loved, comfortable and relaxed,” stated Richard
Christi stated that she feels the same sensation when she prays, as she does when she watches ASMR.
” If you’re religious or spend time with God, it is possible to feel God’s love, compassion, and mercy.” Christi said. “When you watch Christian ASMR, you can feel that the Creator sees and cares .”
Producing ASMR content can also be a spiritual experience. Justice stated that filming and publishing ASMR content helps her feel closer to God. Justice stated, “I want to help other people.” Justice said, “And I want that community for them. They can also come to me for prayer or help if they have any questions.
Dee stated that she also finds joy in creating ASMR videos.
” I am honored to introduce people looking for physical rest to Him .”
While most viewers leave positive and encouraging comments, Christi and Justice stated that there is always negative feedback about ASMR and religious-themed content. Most hate comments, they said, either claim that the content is strange or that they force their beliefs onto others.
“It is not for everyone,” stated Christi. “And that’s fine .”
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