Could exercise enhance the therapeutic potential of ASMR?

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityOne of the key aspects of ASMR is that it is a very relaxing state which seems to de-stress the mind and body.

Exercise is basically the opposite.  It is a high energy state of physical exertion and mental alertness which stresses the mind and body.

Combining a stress state and a relaxation state to alleviate depression may seem a bit counterintuitive, but a study recently published in Translational Psychiatry (a Nature journal) has some interesting results.

The study involved 22 patients with depression  and 30 individuals without depression (control group).

Both groups meditated for 30 minutes then exercised for 30 minutes, twice a week, for 8 weeks.

The depressed patients showed a 40% decrease in their depression symptoms at the end of the study.  And even the non-depressed individuals had  a significant decrease in low mood symptoms.

I am surprised that this study, published in such a high tier journal, did not have the obvious controls of exercise-only and meditation-only groups.  The change in depression symptoms could have been just due to one of the activities rather than both.

Alas, the findings are still important because there are lots of studies showing that meditation alone or exercise alone reduces depressive symptoms but this is the first study that combined the two activities into one therapy.

How does this apply to ASMR research?

ASMR research needs to first demonstrate clearly that ASMR reduces depressive symptoms, then future studies can address if exercising before or after an ASMR session helps to alleviate specific disorders even more than ASMR alone.

How does this apply to the average person watching ASMR videos to boost their mood?

Simple, don’t forget about exercise.

Watching online videos can be a very relaxing experience, but it is also very passive.  Make sure you are getting some daily or weekly exercise.

Science supports that being active will also help to boost your mood, reduce your stress, and if done earlier in the day it will also help you to fall asleep at night.

Perhaps someday clinicians will advocate a dose of daytime exercise and a dose of evening ASMR as an evidence-based boost to mental health.

Click HERE to read the full research publication about meditation, exercise, and depression.

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

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