ASMR Is Why Everyone Loves Those Videos Of People Having Their Bodies Cracked

There seems to have been a recent influx of videos which show people having their full body 'cracked', with many Facebook users enjoying watching the unusual procedure.

It seems that the pleasure of cracking your own joints is replicated by watching someone else do it, which is an unnecessary but welcome addition to chiropractic care, I guess.

Of course the people that are being twisted, turned and almost contorted in the videos aren't having it done for pleasure, but have probably sustained a sporting injury or been involved in a serious accident which has somewhat altered their spine.

Credit: Chiropractic Care Center

A chiropractic adjustment is a form of spinal manipulation, which can have pain relieving effects and ease tension, as well as provide long-term wellness. Chiropractors claim that adjustments can also fight illnesses, and although there's been a few anecdotal successes, there's no scientific evidence to support the claim.

In terms of the videos posted on Facebook and YouTube, most people watch them for the satisfaction. Dr Mo Komaily, from Chiropractic Care Center in Fairfax, says that there's been a "good response" to his videos and "people seem to really like them," although the main point is to show people what chiropractors do.

Despite the videos being very informative, people tend to come for the cracks, then presumably spend 10 minutes trying to crack their own backs. This isn't advised, as unless it is carried out by a professional you could be doing more damage to your spine.

However, people keep coming back for more because of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). ASMR is one of those things that, from the outset, seems rather unusual, but it's rising popularity has proven that it's a cult hit.

It's effectively a way of triggering that tingling sensation in your body that relaxes you. It's kind of like when you split a fresh rubber in half and it slowly tears softly in your hand. Wow.

The term originally comes from a Facebook group created in 2010 after Jennifer Allen founded a gathering that consisted of people creating 'low-grade euphoria' for others. Other names like 'Attention Induced Head Orgasm', 'Attention Induced Euphoria', and 'Attention Induced Observant Euphoria' were also suggested but Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is the one that stuck.

It has taken off since 2010, with people dedicating themselves to YouTube videos with the aim to relax the viewer. It's changed a lot over the years, but now you can pretty much find any kind of category that has been covered by an ASMR 'artist', including chiropractic adjustments.

"I started watching ASMR after I Googled 'relaxing videos'," Isabel from Isabel ImaginationASMR told LADbible. "I found a massage video and I loved the whispered voice over the video, so I typed in whisper and so I found ASMR. That was about five years ago.

"[Before that] the community started out very small about six years ago, known then as the 'whisper community'.

"I started posting my own ASMR videos in June 2016. I had been thinking about making my own YouTube channel [for a while] but was just too chicken.

"Last year I thought let's just try it and see what happens. I'm happy that I tried it.

"I love to be able to help people sleep the way other ASMRtists helped me. I think it's a wonderful gift you can give to someone, relaxation."

Man gets to grips with his interactive girlfriend. Credit: LADbible

It's strange, because if someone describes what ASMR is to you, you'd be forgiven for labelling the person telling you as a bit of an odd ball. But, if you actually watch it, no matter how weird you might think it is, you can find yourself slowly getting into it as it relaxes you.

In the beginning, when it was still in its simplest form, it was just about focusing on the noises and what looks satisfying. Things like a person folding a towel, or Velcro being slowly ripped apart, the pages of a book being turned, nails tapping a surface, the popping of bubble wrap, a scalp being scratched, or even bones being popped.

Laura Stone, an ASMRtist who started out watching the videos to cure anxiety and help her sleep, says that she makes the clips to help people in the same way she was helped.

"If I'm experiencing a panic attack, watching a video for five minutes I feel all my anxiety symptoms fading, and then within 10 minutes I'm calmer," she told BBC News. "I wanted to help people like they helped me. People say I help them sleep. Lonely people who don't have many friends or don't go out, they feel I'm their friend."

A research paper published in 2015 aimed to find what it is that triggers the sensation in people, and whether it was the same in every subject.

Emma Barratt, a graduate student at Swansea University, and Dr Nick Davis used 500 people who watched ASMR videos and asked them where, when and why questions, as well as investigatingabout the consistency of the experiences.


They found that the majority of participants watched the videos for relaxation, sleep or stress-related purposes, whereas five percent used it for sexual stimulation (what?). In terms of content - whispering, personal attention, crisp sounds and slow movements were most popular.

"There are a lot of people who latch onto some ASMR videos involving attractive women and dismiss what we found to be a very nuanced activity as exclusively sexual," Emma explains. "Our findings will hopefully dispel that idea."

One thing that takes it a step further is the comments on certain videos on YouTube. You can obviously log onto the site and see all the comments you like, but, specifically, on clips of people having their backs cracked, the comments are odd. Really odd.

There's quite a big collection of chiropractor compilation videos on YouTube, which is essentially just 10 minutes of people getting their backs cracked.

It's basically a mixture of people who get some kink out of it, people who are addicted to listening to other people's bones crack (crack addicts, wahey) and those who just seem to be lost.

We're all guilty to liking a good crack. Most of us will sit at our desks cracking our knuckles for no good reason. Despite what some people say, it doesn't cause arthritis.

The act of cracking your joints is simply gas bubbles that have been displaced and then releasing them for the joint. It's pretty much harmless and is called cavitation. Chiropractors use these techniques to help improve movement.

According to Dr Rachel Vreeman, there's no actual hard science behind why it's so satisfying. It's basically down to releasing nervous energy, which links it all back to ASMR.

Featured Image Credit: Chiropractic Care Center

Mark McGowan

Mark is a journalist at LADbible, who joined in 2015 after a year as a freelance writer. In the past he blogged for independent football fan channel Redmen TV, after graduating from Staffordshire University with degrees in journalism and English literature. He has worked on campaigns such as UOKM8? and IIOC.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013