Celebrities like record-breaking rapper Cardi B are great fans.
A 21-year-old student in Cheshire, England, earns £60k-a-year ($87) by whispering on YouTube soothing messages to people with depression and anxiety.
Sophie Michelle uploads videos on her own YouTube channel where she is dressed up as a doctor or mermaid and whispers messages like "Hello sweetheart".
Michelle creates ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos wherein she makes stroking hand gestures with make-up brushes, stares directly into camera and role plays in her broadcasts, reports Mirror.co.uk.
The performing arts student said her videos are designed to create a physical response in the viewer, characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin.
She was inspired to start making the videos after her now recovered brother, James, 24, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015.
"My brother developed a brain tumour and the stress and anxiety made me search online for videos that would help me sleep. I came across the usual rain and ambient sounds on YouTube, but then I found ASMR as a suggested video," she said.
"I fell in love with it and it helped me sleep so much easier. I started using it during the day as well just to calm down when I felt anxious and it really helped," she added.
Inspired by the calming effect, Michelle launched her own ASMR channel in June, 2017.
"ASMR is a tingly feeling that makes you feel a sense of peace, almost like a relaxing, pins and needles that gives you a truly numb sensation, she added. However, besides ample followers of her videos, Michelle said she also gets accused of creating fetish material.
"A very small percentage of people online may use these kinds of videos for sexual reasons, but I think those people may have a personal issue if that's the case," added Michelle who makes money from advertisements on her channel.
She further said, "It makes me uncomfortable to think that someone is using it for sexual purposes, because that's never my intention."
Moreover, even some of her friends make comments about her videos being sexual.
"But most of them love ASMR and even watched me on YouTube before they met me at university," she added.
Celebrities like record-breaking rapper Cardi B are great fans of her videos and has a collection of 199 videos on her channel.
"I loved creating my channel because ASMR is something that can really help with anxiety and depression," said Michelle who is using her income from her ASMR channel's success to fund her degree in Theatre, TV and Performing Arts in North Wales.
"Even though I knew the impact ASMR had, I never expected my channel to become popular. I was only on 30,000 subscribers last Christmas and was close to giving up, because I wasn't getting anywhere," she said, adding, that in January she got a massive response after her video about hypnosis got 2.5 million views.
"I was so shocked that so many people loved it. Now my subscribers have grown to over 200,000," she said.
A study conducted by the University of Sheffield earlier this year found that people experiencing the classic 'tingles' had a reduced heart rate when watching the videos and showed significant increases in positive emotions, including relaxation and feelings of social connection.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © 2019 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.