- Leanna Alaiwat is an OB-GYN physician assistant with a large social-media following.
- On TikTok and YouTube, she posts ASMR videos of OB-GYN procedures to show what visits are like.
- Below, she talks to Insider about her career, her videos, and how she thinks ASMR can help medicine.
Leanna Alaiwat would’ve been a teacher had she not chosen to work as a physician assistant. The 26-year-old is well known on, with over 300,000 followers and 11 million likes. On the platform, she posts about sexual health. Her forte is point-of-view videos, in which she talks to the camera as if she’s talking to one of her patients.
In her calming voice, she delivers information about, , , and even — all while using ASMR techniques and explaining what she’s doing in the video to the person on the other side of the screen. By doing that, Alaiwat has created a safe environment for her followers, which may and provide them with valuable information about their bodies, rights, and gynecological exams and procedures before they’re in the room with a clinician.
Insider spoke with Alaiwat about her journey as both a professional in the medical field and a rising social-media personality — as well as the role ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, would play in people’s future medical appointments.
How Alaiwat got started as a physician assistant
Alaiwat said she knew she wanted to work in the medical field ever since she was a senior in high school but wasn’t sure what to specialize in. Around the same time, her father — who’s an OB-GYN — introduced her to a physician assistant.
“She talked to me about her role, and I was able to see firsthand how much of an impact a PA made in their patients’ lives,” she told Insider.
Inspired by the PA she met and filled with the desire to positively influence other people’s lives through her work, Alaiwat decided to apply to a five-year PA program at the University of Detroit Mercy and was accepted into the program. Three years later, she received a bachelor’s degree in biology; two years after that, she received her master’s in PA studies.
Bringing her field onto social media
As a physician assistant, Alaiwat started working in her field, which was also when her journey with social media began.
“After my first job, I knew that I wanted to start a social-media account that would be aimed at educating those on obstetric and gynecological care,” she said.
It was important for her that young patients have a source they could turn to educate themselves and gain access to the kind of content she could provide — easily digestible information related to her specialty. That’s when she created her. She joined a bit later when the platform started gaining popularity, and ASMR soon became her niche in a very unexpected way.
“I remember the first video that ever went viral on TikTok was one in whichand what the process entailed,” she said. “When I made that video, it was during my lunch break at work, and I remember speaking in a quieter tone throughout with the hopes that none of my coworkers would hear me talking to myself. I still laugh about this.
“What I did not realize is that TikTok video would not only attract those who were interested in learning about OB-GYN but also attract the ASMR community through the manner in which I portrayed the information.”
A look at being an ASMR doctor
Thein 2010 by Jennifer Allen and stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It’s a style of video — usually with whispers and sounds of tapping — that can be soothing to the viewer. A 2018 study suggested that watching ASMR videos could slow the heart rate, which can lead to a feeling of relaxation.
On TikTok, the hashtaghas over 300 million views and includes videos of creators simulating doctor appointments, which can be extremely anxiety-inducing for some people. That might be one of the reasons viewers search for these types of videos: to be soothed for their real-life appointments. The creators , , and are just a few who are successful in simulating doctor appointments for users on the app.
Alaiwat makes similar content, of course, but as a medical professional, she sees the potential to take ASMR to the next level, by using it while caring for her real-life patients, she said. Though she has not yet used ASMR techniques while practicing, she said that if a patient asked for that, she would personally be more than happy to provide that approach to care.
“I do always wonder whether or not there will come a time where ASMR-based medical care actually becomes implemented in the real world,” she said. “After making ASMR POV videos, I realized that there is definitely a place for this approach to care in the real world — like for those who have PTSD and anxiety, for example. I truly believeease the nerves and anxiety.”
Alaiwat said her social-media presence was centered on community and that she created work based on her followers’ questions and comments, with the goal of easing their worries about medical exams.
“The benefits of having an ASMR-based medical platform is that implementing ASMR techniques provides a very safe and calming atmosphere to discuss topics that can be anxiety-inducing,” she said.
However, according to the physician assistant, ASMR isn’t for everyone; in fact, there are people who feel like ASMR is anxiety-inducing, and it is. But studies are ongoing, and if you’re interested in seeing what it’s like — or checking out what Alaiwat does, specifically — her work as an OB-GYN physician assistant and ASMR artist can be found online. She has videos both on — the main platform she uses, which she describes as more education-based content — and on , where she uploads longer, more ASMR-focused videos.