SensorAdi (his online identity, not his real name) is an ASMR artist on YouTube. He has been creating and posting ASMR videos on his channel “SensorAdi ASMR” since 2013.
He has posted over 150 soothing videos of himself painting, making gentle brushing sounds, softly scratching and tapping on wood, walking through leaves, and performing relaxing clinical role-plays.
It is obvious from the comments that most of his YouTube followers find his videos helpful for relaxing and falling asleep. A comment on his most popular video from one viewer reflects the sentiments from most other viewers, “I had to listen to this right before I went to sleep and I am at complete ease and peaceful.”
He told me that one viewer even wrote to him from the hospital to let him know that his videos were helpful to him while he was getting treatment for an infection.
Knowing that his videos are helpful to others is important to SensorAdi, “It is very nice and motivating feeling to me.”
But SensorAdi is not just an ASMR artist, he is also a school teacher in Poland.
He has been teaching High School students (ages 15-19) in his current position for the past 7 years. I asked him what makes him a good teacher and he replied, “I am honest, authentic. I am interested in the issues and problems of students.”
Recently though, SensorAdi has had his own issues and problems.
In early April of this year, one of the students in his school discovered his YouTube channel. Within two days the news of his videos spread to other students and to their parents.
Some parents soon complained to the Ethics Spokesman of the school. The parents questioned if these videos exhibited appropriate behavior of a teacher.
It is unlikely that any of these parents had heard of ASMR. These parents were probably unaware of how valuable these videos are to viewers to help them to relax, destress, and/or fall asleep more easily.
The parents’ naivete is somewhat understandable because ASMR is still not a mainstream topic in most countries. SensorAdi confirmed to me that this applies to his country, “In Poland, ASMR is not a popular topic.”
And he indicated that this made the problem worse, “And when people see something they do not know, they deem it strange.”
The parents were confused and upset by his whispering into the camera, dressing as a clinician, and his other behaviors that are commonly exhibited in ASMR videos. The parents were concerned that his videos may be inappropriate in general and especially inappropriate for a teacher.
The parents voiced their concerns to the administrators of his school.
In mid-April the Director of the school called SensorAdi into his office. Sitting next to the Director of the school was a second Director of the school, as well as, the Ethics Spokesman of the school.
These school administrators informed SensorAdi that they had heard complaints from parents and that his ASMR videos may be unethical and unworthy of a teacher. He was given an ultimatum to remove his videos and channel from YouTube or a disciplinary committee would be established.
They told him he had one day to make a decision.
I asked him how he felt at that moment and he shared, “I felt lousy. I felt confused. I do not believe it that I’m guilty of something or that I did something wrong.”
SensorAdi did not want to delete his videos, nor did he think there should be disciplinary action brought against him.
Hoping for a third option, he immediately sought out the advice of a lawyer.
The lawyer asked SensorAdi if there was any scientific evidence which supports that ASMR videos are helpful to viewers. He explained to SensorAdi that scientific evidence would be the best thing to support his case.
SensorAdi thought about it and immediately remembered that a couple weeks ago he saw a notice on the front page of the website http://www.asmr.fm which was titled, “ASMR Results!”.
The notice linked to my April 4th blog post about the first peer-reviewed publication on ASMR.
SensorAdi had clicked the link previously and had read my blog post. So he already knew that there was a research publication which contained evidence that the top three reasons that individuals watched ASMR videos were for relaxation, reducing stress, and falling asleep more easily.
Furthermore, he remembered that the research paper also contained data that ASMR videos boosted the moods of those at high risk for depression and reduced the symptoms of those with chronic pain or illness.
He went back to my blog post, scrolled to the bottom, clicked the direct link to the publication, and printed out the paper.
The next day SensorAdi delivered the paper to his school administrators and informed them that he would not delete his YouTube channel.
While the administrators spent some time reading the paper, SensorAdi sent an email to Dr. Nick Davis, one of the authors of the paper (the other author is Emma Barratt). Dr. Davis responded to SensorAdi with strong support and offered to do anything else he could to assist him.
The administrators called SensorAdi in for another meeting. They had reviewed the research paper and had come to a firm decision.
He would not have to delete his YouTube channel and there would not be any disciplinary action against him.
The administrators thanked SensorAdi for providing the research paper and told him that it helped them to understand the value of ASMR videos. The Director of the school even told SensorAdi that his ASMR videos are ethical, that he is doing a good job, and the matter would be silenced.
SensorAdi immediately shared the good news with Dr. Davis in an email, ending it with, “You really help me Nick. Science, University – that is strong evidence.”
After about a week had passed since receiving the good news I asked SensorAdi how things were going. He replied, “At present, everything is normal. I am getting lots of support from the students and other teachers.”
He told me that this whole situation had made him stronger, more confident. He had learned something valuable that he hopes others will embrace, “Do not give up part of yourself, your life and your passion. These things must be defended.”
After being supported by ASMR research, SensorAdi now strongly expresses his support for ASMR research, “More research on ASMR, explanations, education, awareness, and opinions – all this is very necessary.”
Click HERE to hear SensorAdi tell his story in his own words in a video (The first 4 minutes are in Polish, and then the rest is in English).
Click HERE to read the research publication on ASMR by Dr. Nick Davis and Emma Barratt.
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