EXPLAINED: What is ASMR?

What does it mean?

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridien Response and it is a tingling feeling (tingles) that begin at the crown of your head and it travels down your neck, to the bottom of your spine.

The feeling can occur when hearing particular sounds, watching someone carefully perform a task, a soft voice/whispers or receiving personal attention. These things are also called ‘triggers’.

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ASMR Triggers include –

  • Slow/soft speech and whispering
  • Personal attention or role play – The ASMR-tist can carry out a role play or personal attention such as hair brushing, make up, spa treatment, doctors check up, etc.
  • Watching someone perform a relaxing/satisfying task such as painting, drawing, origami, etc.
  • Sounds such as paper crackling, nails tapping, brushing, lighting a candle, some even like the sound of lip smacking or chewing (not everyone loves that though)

You may wonder if ASMR is sexual in any way, the answer is NO. It is completely opposite to arousing because it’s like taking a sleeping pill, it makes you feel relaxed, calm and sleepy. When you first discover a video it may seem that they are meant for sexual arousal but if you experience ASMR you will soon realise the content is used for relaxation purposes only.

When did it become popular?

The first ASMRtist to upload to YouTube was WhisperingLife who started out by making whisper videos in 2009, and since then ASMR has become increasingly popular across YouTube with hundreds of people creating their own videos.

ASMR WhisperingLife YouTube Channel

ASMR Youtuber Emma Smith (aka Emma WhispersRed) said: “The ASMR community has grown online by the hundreds of thousands over the years so far worldwide and shows no sign of slowing down.

“As the culture of self awareness, mindfulness and complimentary therapies grow, ASMR is becoming very useful for so many.

“ASMR content on YouTube is becoming a genre all of its own and strong bonds are being formed between people all over the world.”

Emma Smith | Credit – whispersredasmr.com

Where can you find ASMR?

YouTube is the main outlet where you can find ASMR videos and the channels of all ASMRtists, you can also follow each individual person through their social media channels if they have them. They would usually include each profile within the description box of their video uploads.

If you type in ‘AMSR channels’ or just ‘ASMR’ into YouTube hundreds of videos and channels will come up which you can browse and see what ASMRtists you like the best.

YouTube ASMR search

Who does it work for?

It can work for anyone, but will not work for everyone. Some may find it very strange or weird to watch ASMR because they don’t experience the tingles, which is okay because ASMR is not everyone’s cup of tea.

If you are a day dreamer, love having your hair played with or cut, feel sleepy when someone speaks softly to you, ever asked your siblings or friends to draw letters on your back or draw on your arms as a child? If any of these things sends shivers down your spine or makes your head feel ‘sparkly’, or if you feel sleepy or relaxed from them then you are ASMR sensitive.

Why you should look into it

It is a good technique to use if you’re struggling to relax or drift off to sleep, rather than searching endless Google results for ways to fall asleep or to feel relaxed you should see if ASMR works for you because if it does and you begin to feel to effects of it then you can use it if you really need to or just want to de-stress.

How does it affect people?

Fans of the videos have commented on how the videos have helped with anxiety, PTSD, depression, helping them fall asleep and insomnia and with the hundreds of ASMR channels that are out there right now there are always videos that will work best for every different individual.

Emma Smith saaid: “Many people use ASMR videos for anxiety as they are calming, once we are calm then our sleep drive begins and we are able to fall asleep”.

Each style of video will have different effects on each person, some may prefer personal attention videos, some may prefer role plays and others may prefer watching a video for the ASMR rather than listening.

However, Emma also noted that: “The ASMR sensation itself does not appear to be ‘addictive’ as the sensation goes away or lessens due to over exposure to the videos, it comes back again after a break”.

So the videos and concept itself does not affect people in an addictive way, it is just an aspect that has become a growing online trend which has helped people as well as relaxing them.

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