Earlier this year a health bulletin was posted by United Concordia Health Insurance about the potential benefits of ASMR for easing dental anxiety. This was the first public support I had seen for the potential health benefits of ASMR by a health insurance provider.
And now another health insurance provider is publicly promoting the potential benefits of ASMR to relieve stress and inducing sleep.
AXA PPP Healthcare is one of the largest health insurance providers in the UK and last month they posted an article titled, “ASMR – Autonomous sensory meridian response.”
The posting includes text, a video, an audio file (both created by Emma Smith, the ASMR artist known as WhispersRed), and also an infographic about the potential biology of ASMR.
The text of the article provides a description of ASMR and its potential health benefits,
“It can be an intensely relaxing feeling and can be used as one of life’s everyday solutions to relieving stress, help with insomnia by inducing sleep maintaining general health and well being.”
At the start of the video, Emma explains that it was exclusively created for AXA PPP Healthcare with the assistance of a sound engineer as part of a healthy sleep promotion campaign. The majority of the video, and the entire separate audio track, contain 30 minutes of relaxing and tingle-inducing sounds from several of her videos.
The inclusion of a separate audio track is a smart move and truly demonstrates that they intended these sounds to be listened to while falling asleep.
The campaign materials were created by the marketing agency, Bottle, with guidance from Dr. Mark Winwood, Director of psychological services for AXA PPP healthcare.
I interviewed Dr Winwood to find out how AXA PPP healthcare became interested in promoting ASMR, how it was to work with Emma, and how the campaign has been received so far.
Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and links to the article, infographic, video, and audio track.
What is AXA PPP Healthcare?
“AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced health insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940.
Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its Health Services division.”
Why is AXA PPP Healthcare interested in helping people sleep better?
“According to recent research and much of the popular press on this area many of us are struggling to sleep or sacrificing sleep in favour of engaging in activities we deem ‘more important’ – this is having a catastrophic consequence on both physical and psychological wellbeing.
According to trends, we are searching for answers on how to get a good night’s sleep more than ever before. AXA PPP healthcare has developed its sleep centre, which offers help and guidance as well as stimulus that may help people to nod off that bit easier.”
How did AXA PPP Healthcare become interested in promoting ASMR to help people sleep better?
“In our attempts at trying to help people who would usually struggle to get to sleep, get to sleep easier, we explored routes that people already use. One of these more unusual methods was ASMR, where we discovered the wider YouTube community in which different ‘ASMR-tists’ use sounds and visuals to relax their audiences.
Unlike YouTube’s usual visual content, ASMR is predominately focused on the high definition sounds, such as paper turning, whispering voices and even preparing food. The idea being to create a calm and strong series of sounds in order to induce a tingling sensation that typically starts in the back, and moves through the body, inducing relaxation and with it, sleep.”
How familiar were you and AXA PPP healthcare with ASMR?
“I was aware of ASMR but not as a method of promoting sleep. AXA PPP healthcare has been researching it for a while now in order to work with YouTube ASMR-tist, WhispersRed to remaster an ASMR track.”
What were the goals of the project created by AXA PPP healthcare?
“This project was formulated to introduce the idea to a wider audience as a potential benefit to aid restful sleep. By sharing the track on Soundcloud as well as on YouTube, we are hoping to encourage as wide an audience as possible to try this technique.
We understand that it is not something for everyone, so even if people try it out and find that it doesn’t work for them, then that is still ‘mission complete’ in our eyes.”
How did AXA PPP healthcare achieve those goals?
“With the launch of this campaign, AXA PPP healthcare picked up the attention of the national, consumer and the science & tech press. AXA PPP has also generated over 100,000 views on the already well-established YouTube channel, WhispersRed.”
What was it like working with the ASMR artist, Emma Smith, AKA WhispersRed?
“Emma is very skilled at what she does and has a huge following, so we knew that we would be in safe hands when working with her on the ASMR track. The response from her video has been incredible; both those who are new to ASMR and those who are already fans of it responding well. Many are excited that a global brand such as AXA PPP healthcare are getting involved in alternative sleep methods.”
How has the campaign been received so far?
“The campaign has been very well received as we can tell by the volume of views of the video. We are delighted to see so many people that are new to ASMR giving it a go. Even if they didn’t feel relaxed or fall to sleep after listening to the track, the whole idea of this campaign was to give more options to people suffering from a lack of sleep, and if you don’t try things then how will you know if they work for you or not?”
Does AXA PPP healthcare have desire or plans to create more ASMR-inspired campaigns in the future?
“Moving on from this campaign, AXA PPP healthcare is exploring numerous ways in which we can monitor and improve our sleep. We will continue to keep our relationship with Emma at WhispersRed and if there are any more ASMR opportunities that we can work with her on, then we will be sure to investigate those routes further.”
Access the article, infographic, video, and audio track HERE.
Read a related story about United Concordia Health Insurance provider HERE.
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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.