The sounds most people like for ASMR vides are like my personal Misphonia trigger, but there’s lots of nice sounds that make my brain tingle. Wind chimes, seagulls, ocean waves, crickets, sawing wood, dry toothbrushing (no paste or water), rain, rivers, bubble wrap popping, sand moving, sharp object moving slowly on cardboard, flipping the pages of a thick book with thin pages, osculating fans, blinds being drawn, a can of soda being opened, extremely loud hardstyle techno music, purring cats, meowing, the stapler & staple remover, tea kettle just as it starts to boil, the coffee maker, fire, strong wind rustling through trees or fall leaves when you kick your way through them, vocoders, guitar riffs, chiptunes, pan frying, the sound a gas stove makes when you turn it on, pool splashing.
I’m a prematurely retired, disabled, UCLA med school trained pediatrician, due to a stroke and for me ASMR occurs only with music, but just what I call exquisite(level) music. Interestingly before my love for science, my first love was music, as an alto, tenor, and baritone sax player as a child. My experience is that it always is full body, at the onset, and sometimes is accompanied by a slight body warmth effect. It is always a very pleasant sensation, and does not always occur with these level of songs. Not maybe related, but I’ve become a sensation at party type celebrations, as people are amazed at my dancing skills without my quad cane, without much use of my limited right side of my body. They look at me in a crazed way when I tell them I really don’t consider it dancing, in the strictest sense, but it’s like the music and I are symbiotic, and I become the music so that my body just starts spontaneously moving in such a way they would not believe possible, with much improved balance, as people start to hoot, holler, clap and recording with their smart phones. I’m not putting on a show, just enjoying music at the highest level I know. I have always loved music intensely. Initially, I did what I call chair dancing, all upper body, for quite some time, after my stroke.
It’s not like it even has to be that good, but if I get sudden understanding where I didn’t used to, it’s instant ASMR. For example, if I listen to a song for a long time in a foreign language, and later on read the lyrics while listening along, I start to understand what the singer is going for, and why they held certain notes longer etc, and that’s a trigger.
I have definitely had this sensation many times from sexual activities, or leading up to them, as foreplay. Also while masturbating from about age 2 and up, instinctively using effleurage upon my own skin, as I comforted myself to help me sleep. I don’t see why anyone would be troubled if this phenomenon is associated with sexuality. It is undoubtedly sensual, and so is sex, so it is natural for there to be some overlap.
ASMR's main draws, as Richard explained, are the feelings it can create. When a person hears whispering, crinkling, tapping, or other ASMR triggers, they experience tingling sensations throughout their body. But the physical sensations aren't the only reasons people watch ASMR content. A 2017 study found that 41% of respondents watch ASMR videos to help them fall asleep, while 59% watch to relax.
There is no solid data about ASMR, no published research studies — not yet. The term “ASMR” is nonclinical, coined in 2010 by a woman named Jennifer Allen who started an ASMR Facebook group and later became part of a team — along with Richard — that collected and analyzed anecdotal information about the sensation. Richard also notes the work of Bryson Lochte, a Dartmouth College undergrad who has used neuroimaging technology to study ASMR for his senior thesis but has not published his results.