EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. — Let the serene sounds take you as you're guided into a state of relaxation by ASMR YouTuber Maria of Gentle Whispering ASMR. Her techniques are subtle and soft, and for the last nine years, she has been whispering her 1.8 million viewers into a deep state of relaxation.
"For a lot of people, it’s an escape after work where they can go into the video and just go into this little island of nothingness," Maria said.
Maria describes ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, as a "wonderful, buzzing, vibrating, sparkly type of feeling in the back of your head."
"Usually, it starts from the top then travels down your spine," Maria explained. "Sometimes your limbs-- if you’re lucky."
The YouTuber first noticed her own sense of ASMR when she was a child.
"Throughout my life I would get this weird tingling sensation in my head, but I could never fully pinpoint where it was coming from," Maria said.
In 2010, Maria discovered a community of whisperers online.
"I stumbled onto a video that said 'whisper' in the title, and I clicked on it. And my life has absolutely changed from there," Maria explained. "I knew right away that I had found my people."
Originally from Russia, Maria moved to the United States at 18-years-old. Now living in El Dorado County, her YouTube channel is her full-time job. She records her videos in her home studio, and with a closet full of props, she frequently uses makeup and hair brushes to dust upon her two microphones to "trigger tingles" in viewers.
"ASMR is something that has to do with one-on-one connection. When a person is very attentive to you," Maria explained. "Or when you watch somebody performing very detailed, tedious work of some kind."
With more than 400 videos on her channel, often viewers will see Maria acting out scenarios. She will be a hairdresser one day, and a make up artist the next. During her role-playing, she'll ask in a soft voice, "How was your day?"
"I try to protrude a motherly, comforting atmosphere in my videos and make them feel safe and protected," Maria explained. "And I think it comes off on the camera and people can truly feel that."
While the physiological effects of ASMR are still being explored by researchers, Maria’s goal is to keep creating and spreading the word about the community she holds dear.
"There are so many different ways to experience ASMR nowadays," Maria said. "I’m constantly thinking about what next I can create. I now put every situation in my life through a filter of 'could I put a twist of ASMR into it and make a video out of that too?'"
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