The website for ASMRtist United looks remarkably like it was created by a child – which it was. Founded in August 2017 by 14-year-old Jacob Daniel, the “company” offers advice to ASMRtists under the age of 18. There is a guide on how to filter sexual comments, advice on coping with cyberbullying and a post entitled “How do I stop my school from finding my channel?”.
It’s been described as a “brain massage”, and people all over the world watch similar videos – usually someone seeming to give you their undivided attention – to de-stress or drift off to sleep of an evening. Experts explain that it’s about feelings of intimacy and empathy. If you think this sounds like a weird sex thing – no, as it happens, this isn’t a weird sex thing, though the phenomena has been nicknamed a “brain orgasm”. In 2015, a study found that 98 percent of ASMR-loving respondents use the videos to simply relax, while for 70 percent it was stress relief. Only 5 percent said it’s about sexual stimulation (for those people, may we recommend the very whispery ‘Je T’aime Moi Non Plus’ from Jane Birkin and Serge Gainboroug…). There are plenty of songs, too, with evocative sounds – brittle beats, tongue clicks and more – that’ll appeal to those who experience ASMR.
Question: I am new to ASMR and have yet to find any triggers that cause me to have the ‘tingles.’ (I have experienced the ‘tingles’ in real life situations, so I know what the sensation is, I just can’t remember what triggered them!) I have heard that ASMR videos are more effective with headphones. When people say this, do they mean *any* type of personal listening device (such as ear buds, like I am using) or do they mean a set of actual, over-the-ear headphones? Could the use of ear buds be contributing to my difficulty finding my trigger?
Have you ever felt a static-like or tingling sensation on the top of your head when someone brushes your hair or whispers to you? The feeling may travel down your arms and your spine, and it likely makes you feel very relaxed. Some call it a “sparkly” feeling, and it might happen when you hear someone crinkle a piece of paper or when someone traces a word on your back.
The content creators are almost exclusively women, and while a large number of them post captions in Russian, there are women from all around the world posting videos of themselves chewing and swallowing chalk. And it’s not a small genre. The #chalkeating tag on Instagram has over 71,000 posts to date, and similarly, the #chalkasmr tag has over 34,000 posts.
In a series of Instagram direct messages, the woman who runs the self-described "ASMR-PICA" account @tasteetastetastik told Motherboard that although she does not believe that she has pica, she got into the community after several months of using Instagram for voyeurism and making foam-focused ASMR videos. “Well I didn’t start eating it [chalk] until I was faced with stress,” she said. “Had some reoccuring family issues and it kind of propelled from there.”
“I don’t think enough is done,” Fleck says. “This little girl was wearing sweatshirts with her school’s name on them, you have the danger of being doxxed, people finding out where you are.” Thankfully, Fleck feels the ASMR community look out for each other. “It’s just a little difficult because other than reaching out to get YouTube to do something, we’re kind of powerless.”
In the middle of the ASMR spectrum I have all sorts of triggers. A deep male voice reading Holy Scriptures. Definitely not as spiritual a response as the Cantor, but still pleasant, even so. A favorite trigger is good music, either played or sung. Usually it’s a voice that does it for me, more so than instruments. Depending on the type of song, lyrics and the melody/drums, music can trigger a wide range of ASMR types for me. Some are very much at the spiritual end, while others bring back the memory of ASMR events, and the memory itself triggers a mild repeat. Really good foods (eating or even smelling them) can trigger tingles in head and shoulders; while a head, back or foot massage can all be triggers, depending on the skill of the person.
I just recently learned of ASMR even though I’ve been experiencing the sensation my whole life. What I find so funny is how many ASMR fans and artists love Bob Ross. My family always joked at how much I loved watching Bob Ross growing up and I was never able to fully describe to them the sensations I was feeling. I used to seek out sounds that gave me the ASMR sensations and discovered there were many of them.
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.
The story follows Tom More, a psychiatrist living in a dystopian future who develops a device called the Ontological Lapsometer that, when traced across the scalp of a patient, detects the neurochemical correlation to a range of disturbances. In the course of the novel, More admits that the 'mere application of his device' to a patient's body 'results in the partial relief of his symptoms'.