According to Wikipedia, “Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)…is a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli. The nature and classification of the ASMR phenomenon is controversial, with strong anecdotal evidence to support the phenomenon but little or no scientific explanation or verified data.” Could it be why we like shaving?
Again, according to Wikipedia:
“A commonly reported stimulus for ASMR is the sound of whispering. As evident on YouTube, a variety of videos and audio recordings involve the creator whispering or communicating with a soft-spoken intonation into a sound recording device and generally a camera.
“Many role-playing videos and audio recordings also aim to stimulate ASMR. Examples include descriptive sessions, in a style similar to guided imagery, for experiences such as haircuts, massages, visits to a doctor’s office, and ear-cleaning. While these make-believe situations are acted out by the creator, viewers and listeners report an ASMR effect that relieves insomnia, anxiety, or panic attacks.”
I took a look on YouTube and there are quite a few ASMR-related videos that involve shaving. Here is one example, with 1.8 million views:
Here is another interesting video that even goes so far as to use a Parker shavette:
There is even an ASMR barber on YouTube.
But Does It Work?
Wikipedia and it’s referenced sources say there is anecdotal evidence to support the concept, but not much in the way of hard scientific evidence. On the one hand the Director of General Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine suggests that ASMR maybe a type of “pleasurable seizure” or another way to activate the pleasure response. Neurologist Edward J. O’Connor says there may be no single stimulus which triggers ASMR for all individuals. On the other hand psychiatrist Dr. Michael Yasinski supports the legitimacy of ASMR and claims it is similar to meditation. The bottom line is there isn’t any scientific evidence to support neither harm nor benefit.
What is your response to this? I often read of new shavers experiencing satisfaction at the sound of stubble being cut with an all-metal razor. I’ve even read of “newbies” dreaming about shaving. Is it a feeling of satisfaction or are we feeling a real pleasurable response?