UK's first ASMR clinic charges up to £100 to pretend-brush people's hair

  • 2 months ago
The owner of the UK's first ASMR clinic charges up to £100 to pretend-brush people's hair - and says the practice helps anxiety, ADHD and insomnia patients.

Kellie Ripley, 46, opened the ASMR Live Lounge and sees up to seven clients a day.

ASMR - or autonomous sensory meridian response - refers to a feeling of wellbeing combined with a tingling sensation in the scalp and down the back of the neck.

It is usually experienced by people in response to a specific gentle stimulus - often a certain sound.

The qualified hypnotherapist and masseuse mostly "treats" people from corporate backgrounds who need to relax.

Kellie says it’s like "therapy" - with practices including tapping on people with fake nails, pretending to brush their hair and light face-touching.

Kellie, from Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: “I opened the ASMR Live Lounge because I wanted to go and get this done for myself - but I couldn’t find anywhere.

“It’s filled with all different sounds and smells and we do mostly role play.

“I have clients with ADHD, anxiety and insomnia and some say it’s the only but of time where their mind can just stop.

“At first I got into it only wanting to do ASMR, but I realised it’s like therapy for them, too.”

Kellie has been a lover of ASMR since she was little - even before she knew what it was.

She’d spend time brushing her friends’ hair at sleepovers and would ask them to trace her arms and hands with their nails.

“The first time I experienced the tingles was in my teens,” she said.

“My friend and I would have our sleepovers - we’d trace each other’s arms and hands.

“When mum wasn’t in a rush having my hair brushed was actually quite a nice feeling.

“It was a very content and safe feeling - who would’ve known it’d become my full-time job all these years later?”

In 2015, Kellie started watching ASMR on YouTube to relax - her favourite channel being WhispersRed, who specialises in hair, beauty and medical examination role play.

After eight years of enjoying the practice she decided to look up ASMR spas in the UK to experience it in real life.

“I thought 'surely I can go and get something magical done',” Kellie said.

“But I couldn’t find anyone at all.

“So I decided to open up my own spa - going online to look for therapy rooms to rent in Southsea.

“I contacted a lady called Debbie - who rented me a room there for £50 per day.

“I told the insurance company all I do is role play, it’s like telling a story from the moment you walk in and they were fine with it.”

Kellie has marketed the ASMR Live Lounge - which she opened in February 2023 - as an “immersive live ASMR venue” - offering different “stories” for different prices.

Her personal favourite, the “bliss” role play, involves light touch and brushing all over the clients’ back, neck and hands.

She said: “Some of them are an hour - but there’s one 90-minute one, which costs £70.