For me it’s tapping, whispering (the closer the better), hair brushing (directly on the mic, not just raking a brush through hair), and hypnosis (even if they’re only attempts or roleplay). Medical or other kinds of roleplay don’t seem to affect me at all and just come off as phony in my mind. It’s the sounds themselves, and their intensity at very close range, that hit me hardest. I don’t really care what’s being said. In fact I get just as much out of asmr in languages I don’t understand. Pretty sure French in and of itself is something of a trigger.
I can… sort of do this… I can (and I’m borrowing a bit the words of someone above in the comments who’s much better at description than I) send a wave of tingles or energy, I guess, down my spine and my legs a little. It sometimes makes my muscles twitch involuntarily and it feels good… I can’t do it in my head, it starts in my shoulders and sides, I don’t get goosebumps (but then the strongest feeling is in my lower back) and can’t do it in my arms, but it feels like tingles. I haven’t tried seeing if anyone else can feel it (weird that that works… is it like… static electricity or something? Come to think of it, it does feel sort of like electricity…) but I will, though as I can’t spread it to my hands I doubt it will work.
I must admit that I had never heard of Bob Ross before I discovered ASMR, and chances are that if you live outside America this will be the case for you too. Technically speaking Bob Ross is simply provides a good combination of many of the other common triggers, but because of his widespread popularity as an ASMR trigger I thought he was worth mentioning on his own. The great thing about being triggered by Bob Ross is that you can buy full length DVDs so you can quickly and easily get some ASMR going from the comfort of your couch.
The most popular source of stimuli reported by subjects to be effective in triggering ASMR is video. Videos reported being effective in triggering ASMR fall into two categories, identified and named by the community as 'Intentional' and 'Unintentional'. Intentional media is created by those known within the community as 'ASMRtists' with the purpose of triggering ASMR in viewers and listeners. Unintentional media is that made for other purposes, often before attention was drawn to the phenomenon in 2007, but which some subjects discover to be effective in triggering ASMR. One early unintentional example is the Art Bears song 'The Bath of Stars.' Another example of unintentional media several journalists have noted is of famed painter Bob Ross. In episodes of his popular television series The Joy of Painting both broadcast and on YouTube, his soft, gentle speaking mannerisms and the sound of him painting and his tools trigger the effect on many of his viewers. The work of stop-motion filmmaker PES is also often noted.
Among the category of intentional ASMR videos that simulate the provision of personal attention is a subcategory of those specifically depicting the "ASMRtist" providing clinical or medical services, including routine general medical examinations. The creators of these videos make no claims to the reality of what is depicted, and the viewer is intended to be aware that they are watching and listening to a simulation, performed by an actor. Nonetheless, many subjects attribute therapeutic outcomes to these and other categories of intentional ASMR videos, and there are voluminous anecdotal reports of their effectiveness in inducing sleep for those susceptible to insomnia, and assuaging a range of symptoms including those associated with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.