ASMR (or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is kind of a strange phenomenon. For those who experience it, it’s difficult to explain and for those who don’t it’s almost impossible to understand. We recently found ourselves lost in a strange corner of the internet (as most people often do) binge watching ASMR trigger videos that had accumulated over 15 million views (!!!), and knew we had to dig into the science behind this weird yet affective A.F. relaxation method.
Click below the cut to expand your knowledge- and maybe if you’re lucky you’ll feel some ~tingles~.
WAIT, WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?
From a science perspective ASMR is very difficult to explain (seriously, there is only one scientific paper published), but to put it in the words of the internet, it’s sort of like an orgasm for your brain.
Most people that experience it describe it as a tingling sensation centred at the back of your neck that can spread throughout your entire body, giving you a sense of pure relaxation and bliss. It can be triggered by many different things, but most ASMR inducing videos feature light whispering, tapping, and delicate hand movements all recorded with binaural microphones (specific to left and right ears). Some are role-playing videos of scalp massage, classic “Makeup Hauls” with a whispery twist, and if you really dig around you’ll find slightly creepy ear-to-ear kissing videos that we can’t quite seem to vibe with.
Scientists haven’t been able to come up with much of an explanation as to why this feeling occurs. there are theories that these sensations might be a form of a mild and un-harmful seizure (although it has never been proven), or it might simply be a phantom feeling of physical relaxation when watching videos of massages or grooming.
THAT SOUNDS WEIRD… WHY ARE PEOPLE DOING THIS?
To put it simply, the sensations generated from ASMR are crazy relaxing. For people suffering with depression, anxiety or insomnia, these videos are among the only things that can help them fall asleep. It definitely can seem like a weird concept to a newcomer, but the millions of people watching these YouTube videos are proof that these benefits exist!
The research paper mentioned above also touches on some really interesting points, including the fact that ASMR can aid in relieving chronic pain and alter longterm symptoms of depression. Some listeners describe the euphoric state as an easy-to-achieve form of meditation that results in an overall calmness, stress relief, and a uplift in their moods!
SO HOW CAN I FEEL THESE TINGLES!?
Here’s the thing, science doesn’t know why but not everyone reacts to ASMR in the same way. Trigger videos that work wonders for some may do nothing for others, and some people may actually never feel this sensation.
An ASMR study found that these feelings may actually be hereditary, and are more commonly linked in females (sisters, or mothers/daughters). The only real way to test your abilities is to snuggle in with some headphones to block out surrounding noise and start listening to videos. We’ve included a few of our favourites to get you started, happy tingles!!