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.
Just curious if I’m alone in this– I don’t get ASMR from physical sounds or sensations, but I get it VERY strong from certain songs or concepts that have emotional impact, or from having an understanding of some sensory experience (such as a song) that I didn’t before. It doesn’t matter whether the emotion means anything to me, personally, but if the singer sounds like they mean it it’s a trigger.
I have always had AMSR but thought that it happened to everyone. I started watching trigger videos about 3 years ago, however my biggest trigger (not one that anyone else has and also one I don’t get to frequently engage in) is rubbing my bare feet on unfinished wood. Those tingles are ridiculously strong. I need to find a dock somewhere… I feel bad for people who don’t experience this.
If you’re not one of Payton’s 443,000 subscribers, then you’re probably currently asking yourself something along the lines of, “Why the heck do people want to watch someone eat a pickle?” The answer, quite simply, is ASMR: or autonomous sensory meridian response. This term is used to describe the sensation, normally a tingling, that people get in response to an auditory or visual cue (like someone eating a pickle). It’s been described as a type of auditory-tactile synesthesia, and it can be triggered by everything from whispering to the crinkling of wrapping paper. The term was coined in 2010 by Jennifer Allen, the founder of the first Facebook group for people who experience the phenomenon, and it has been referred to as ASMR ever since.
ASMR is described as a pleasurable tingling that begins in the head and scalp, shimmies down the spine and relaxes the entire body. Maria — she asked that her last name be withheld for safety reasons; her videos have sometimes attracted unwanted attention — experiences ASMR, and her YouTube channel, GentleWhispering, melds her personal tingle-triggers with others suggested by her fans. The resulting videos have drawn more than 87 million views, making Maria the premier celebrity of a controversial but increasingly recognized phenomenon.
The least sexual and most Spiritual ASMR I’ve ever had was when I was traveling in the Holy Land, and a man trained as a Jewish Cantor (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/what-is-a-cantor/) recited/sang a prayer in a Baha’i Temple. My entire body throbbed with the sound that poured out of that man’s soul My skin felt so tight I could have been a clothing size smaller, the tingles of deep joy coursed in whirls under my skin, my blood pounding through my veins. If you’ve ever watched videos of sand on top of speakers… it felt like that man’s voice was having that effect on my body, changing the very cell structure, just with the sound of his chanting. It was amazing. It was incredibly intense. And definitely spiritual.
A minor detail, I know, but I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t call the head massager an “orgasmatron”. There are enough attempts by the media, both advertent and inadvertent, to sexualize ASMR, and we really don’t want newcommers to get the wrong idea. Those who experience ASMR may be able to easily look past the dis-analogy, but for those who don’t, it’s little things like this that make it that much harder.
However, the truly novel findings came from a second experiment, when 110 participants viewed ASMR videos while connected to biological feedback machinery. After watching the videos, the heart rates of people with ASMR slowed on average by more than three beats per minute. And their skin conductance levels—a measure of physiological arousal – were significantly increased compared to those in the non-ASMR group.
In the first peer-reviewed article on ASMR, published in Perspectives in Biology in summer 2013, Nitin Ahuja, who was at the time of publication a medical resident at the University of Virginia, invited conjecture on whether the receipt of simulated medical attention might have some tangible therapeutic value for the recipient, comparing the purported positive outcome of clinical role play ASMR videos with the themes of the novel Love in the Ruins by author and physician Walker Percy, published in 1971.