Similarities include: both can induce relaxation, both have strong auditory component, and both can induce a type of chills or tingles.
Differences include: music is almost all auditory (vibrations can be another sensory input method), the type of chills induced are slightly different, and music may have a stronger emotional component.
And then there is the biggest difference of them all.
Relaxing music has been acknowledged for thousands of years.
That is kind of huge.
As a culmination of this long and rich history there are a fair amount of scientific publications related to the biology of music and the clinical application of music.
There are even journals and organizations that focus solely on music as therapy.
This is good news for ASMR because it offers a path to follow and a goal to emulate.
But again, music had thousands of years as a head start. I would suspect that researchers in the thick of music therapy research today feel that music therapy research does not get enough support and does not get the serious attention it deserves.
And it would be difficult to find someone that doubts music can be relaxing.
So ASMR research and the application of ASMR have a lot of ground to cover, and hopefully will do it in much less than thousands of years – for two reasons.
Firstly, and most obviously, the current state of science, technology and communication can catalyze these advances at a much faster rate today than in the past.
Secondly, there are great examples of biological and clinical studies being done today that can really guide ASMR researchers. These studies can be used as templates for ASMR research.
As an example, here is a recent study that investigated the effect of music therapy on depression.
Researchers divided a large group of children and adolescents with depression into two experimental groups. The first group received the usual standard of care for depression. The second group received the usual standard of care for depression, along with music therapy.
This approach is important because the initial best step is not to substitute evidence-based treatments with an experimental treatment, that can be too risky for some patient populations.
The participants that received the additional music therapy had increased self-esteem and reduced depression compared to the standard treatment-only group.
This study has been viewed as the first randomized controlled trial in a clinical setting to show that music therapy is effective for children and adolescents with depression.
This is very big and positive news for music therapy, but remember – it took thousands of years to get to this point.
ASMR research has a lot of work to do.
Click HERE to read more about the music therapy research study.
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