Babka Vanda’s grandmother claimed to be able to heal people with just a whisper. The local priest forbade her from treating people until one day a snake bit the priest. Vanda’s grandmother whispered words into the wind, and just like that, the priest was cured and she was allowed to heal people again.
Eventually, her grandmother passed down this ancient power to heal through whispering to her granddaughter, Babka Vanda.
Babka Vanda is one of a handful of surviving whisperers. One whisperer said that she routinely cures tumors, nerves, fevers, and stammering. She even says her uncle’s whispering was so powerful he could paralyze a snake.
Each disease is treated with its own special set of healing words. The words often rhyme and must be said in a single breath in a barely audible whisper.
For a thousand years, healers in rural Belarus have practiced whispering, but today it is on its way out. As the country’s rural population declines, so does the belief in whispering. Many young people and city folk do not believe in the power of whispering, while others say that it’s primitive.
While not as mystical, the idea of whispering therapy has popped up in a more modern form. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is a pleasurable, tingling sensation that some people feel on the back of their head and neck when they hear certain sounds. This physical reaction can spread through the rest of the body, too. It is similar to the feeling you might get when you have goosebumps.
There are lots of ASMR videos on YouTube. Most feature people whispering to the viewer. But some actually include personalized role-playing experiences. An example would be a person pretending to give a head massage. The creators try to interact with the viewer to relax them and allow them to experience the pleasure of ASMR. While some find it creepy, others swear that it’s healing. Some doctors believe it could help with anxiety, insomnia, and migraines. One practitioner even says it’s the dawn of a new era in stress relief and relaxation. She says that even if the viewer doesn’t experience ASMR, the videos will still relax them.
The few remaining mystical whisperers, like Babka Vanda, say that people who know the words are dying and the young don’t believe in the practice. They say they don’t know who will whisper after their deaths. While it’s clear that ASMR is a far cry from the ancient practice of whispering, perhaps it is a new dawn for this unique form of relaxation and healing.