Introduction to ASMR
You might or might not have heard of ASMR videos. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. You might have seen videos on YouTube of people whispering into the camera. A woman whispers in a melodic voice and makes hypnotic hand movements. In others, there are people whispering or making crinkly noises.
These videos are very popular in certain parts of the internet and have been regularly gathering millions of views. If you are unfamiliar with this phenomenon, you might be wondering as to what exactly is going on. In this article, we will try to explain what ASMR exactly is and how you can use it to chill out, relax or even fall asleep in a gentle way. All you need is the internet and a good pair of headphones/earbuds.
What is ASMR
As mentioned earlier, ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. In simpler language, this refers to the sensation some people get when watching stimulating videos or audio. Some people describe the feeling as ‘tingles’ that are felt through the back of the head and spine. Others say that the feeling is deeply relaxing and causes them to fall asleep.
To clarify, this is not a scientific term and it is thought that the term was coined on a Facebook group in 2010. The term ASMR has since caught on and a vibrant community has built up around it since then.
ASMR is not triggered by a single type of stimulus. It could be via sounds, video, touch or even experience. Some even say that the attention they receive from others acts as an ASMR stimulant. In our article, we will focus more on sound-based ASMR and how you can try it for yourself.
ASMR – find out if you have it
Most people who experience ASMR say that their first experience with it was before the age of 13. If you know of any sounds, visuals or experiences that have given you a sense of intense calm and serenity, you have probably experienced ASMR. Another way of describing ASMR is having electric pulses at the beginning of each hair on your head and having these tingles travel down your spine.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. A sense of calm relaxation brought about by specific triggers, often auditory in nature. Frequently reported as a mild tingling sensation across the scalp or neck region
A specific sound or event that elicits an ASMR calming response. Triggers often include sounds such as quiet whispering, crinkling or tapping
A label often given to a person who produces reputable ASMR-triggering content, such as audio-based instruction or video featuring hushed sounds/voices
ASMR – list of common triggers
This is one of the most common ASMR triggers. If you look on YouTube, you will find the largest proportion of ASMR videos to be related to whispering.
Scratching and Tapping
If you haven’t heard of Bob Ross already you should know that he is an American TV personality and artist. He reached millions of art lovers with his popular television program called The Joy of Painting. His videos provide a combination of multiple triggers.
Crinkling of Paper
Crushing of eggshells
The sound of a hairdryer
Unboxing of food packets
Eating of various food
These are a small list of the most common auditory ASMR triggers. Your triggers could be different and much more obscure. Try these out and see if any of them work for you.
ASMR – the science behind it
As a medical therapy, ASMR has very little research behind it. Those who experience ASMR report relaxation and better sleep. However, such claims have yet to be supported by any evidence-based studies. There are anecdotal studies being conducted right now and the ASMR community is growing by leaps and bounds each day.
ASMR – how can it help you?
ASMR is routinely described as a blissful tingling. The tingling sensation results in a feeling of intense calm and relaxation which can help you overcome insomnia. Other anecdotal benefits of ASMR are as below
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved blood flow
- Improved digestion
- Improved mood
- Improved weight loss
- These results are of course anecdotal and your mileage may vary
ASMR – example videos
Maria is one of the most well-established ASMRtists on YouTube today. Check out one of her most popular videos below.
Here is an example of an ASMR video where a food package is being unboxed along with whispered descriptions
And here is a video where a seemingly dull sound like that of a hair dryer induces ASMR