While scientific evidence is pretty scarce, the number of devotees is overwhelming: ASMR online groups and forums are flooded with stories of people suffering from unbearable and incurable anxiety or insomnia until they came across Bob Ross' soothing voice on late-night TV or heard pages gently turning in a library. (Related: Incredibly Odd Insomnia Cures People Actually Try)
I've been aware of the ASMR feeling since about always, but I really thought it was something everyone got. As common as breathing, so it never occurred to me to speak about it until recently when I gave my sister a few links that made me feel these triggers and she felt nothing or was even greatly annoyed... then I came across reading about it and realized, not all people get it. (They're totally missing it, I like it a lot!)
The left side of Makenna Kelly’s bedroom is just like any other child’s. Her silver and white bedspread matches a feature wall, she has a dresser with her own TV and her nickname – “Kenna” – is spelled out in wooden letters above the window. On the right side of her room, however, things are less ordinary. There are three professional studio lights and a tripod, a silver plaque congratulating her on 100,000 YouTube subscribers and a framed letter from Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO. Sellotaped on the closet door is the fan mail.
Daniel and Prunkl keep a folder full of this man’s transgressions and have notified the local police. “Sometimes it scares me,” Daniel confesses, quieter now. “It does scare me that this guy could be anywhere.” Similarly, Makenna Kelly fears that kids at her bus stop will follow her home and leak her address online. “I just go down to the clubhouse and wait ten minutes just to make sure nobody knows where I live.”
I relate to much of what has been said in this conversation thread. I remember as a child, young, maybe seven… my punishment for disobedience or back talking was to stand in the corner. The corner was made by the cold wall and the refrigerator. The refrigerator was old and would kick on often blowing warm air through the crack between it and the wall. I did not know why I got tingly but I loved it and remember asking if all my punishments could be to stand in the corner. It believed it was the difference of temperatures between the wall and the refrigerator motor that caused it. Now, as an adult, I still sit over heat vents with my cheek or arm rested against the wall. I wonder why sometimes it is so intense. I get the tingles that crawl all the way down to my toes and cause a mild jerk or convulsion that sets it off again. I have synesthesia and also wonder if that serves to increase the frequency or intensity of the feeling…
For many years I had no clue what asmr even was. I just knew I could think and hear things and it happens. I was eating lunch yesterday, I had a sarano pepper. I usually have a pepper of some type with at least one meal a day. This pepper was multi colored, very different from my norm. I have never, had a response from eating any food. Within a second or so of biting into this pepper, my head was going insane. Far more intense than any response before. So intense I stopped eating and waited several minutes for it to calm. Wanted to test it again more bites equaled more response. I kept the pepper, it had a very diffrent flavor from any I had before. I want the seeds!!!! Lol. Anyone had this happen to them? I’m shocked and have never heard of actual food triggers. These responses we’re intense and a quite a bit longer. I actually stopped eating the pepper, as after the 4th round my head felt tired and that I would get a head ache.
Okay, science may never explain the shoe thing. But scroll through these lists, and the array of triggers is largely consistent: classical music, haircuts, movie trailers, Bob Ross, more Bob Ross, lots of Bob Ross, the painter best known for his popular instructional videos. Forget the bucolic landscapes; these Ross fans are fixated on his calming baritone and the rustle of his brush on the canvas.
I have a lot of the “normal” ASMR triggers, but I also get HUGE tingles from the sound of people running a circular saw, band saw or arc welder. Does anybody else get “head-numbies” from machinery — if so, have you found a source for good triggering? The best I have been able to find are PBS shows like New Yankee Workshop or old episodes of This Old House. I have spliced together different “machine” audio files to create longer trigger files, but they never seem to work as well as those files that are created by someone else.
I remember that I used to wait around at work in the evening sometimes for the cleaners to come in & for whatever reason, would just really enjoy listening to the different cleaning sounds & the vacuuming. I just loved the fact that sometimes after a tough day at work I could just listen to the cleaners for about 20min & just feel a little “tingly” & very relaxed. Not something you can really explain to your colleagues though… They would probably think you are a big wierdo!
NBC News: "Why some researchers say 'brain tingles' could be the next big trend in relaxation" — "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.
When your hungry or when your thristy, upon drinking or eating your brain feels allot better. When consuming it your brain triggers natural dopamine activations in the brain signaling a rewarding behavior. (note that this is done on a regular basis when using alcohol or drugs, where the drug invades the brain dopamine receptors thus requiring a higher dose of whatever the person took, to get the same experience.
I just discovered I was capable of triggering tingles on purpose this past month, after it popped into my head one day to seek out a video of a cat grooming itself (my trigger) to see if I could purposely trigger that weird relaxing feeling that I had experienced occasionally growing up, but had never really fully thought about. So that was pleasant. Then oddly enough a week ago I attempted to articulate this experience to a friend at a party (not knowing the term ASMR – nor even aware that it was a known thing, I simply described it as this peaceful, totally non-sexual, relaxed feeling I get from watching cats grooming themselves). Against all odds, this friend said, “oh, you’re probably experiencing ASMR – you should look it up.” Needless to say – it’s nice to find that indeed there’s an entire community of people online that have the same capability. Thought I’d share my experience and ask a couple questions.
But the phenomenon has nonetheless burst into the mainstream, thanks to mounting media coverage and a few high-profile references: “Saturday Night Live” alum Molly Shannon gushed to Conan O’Brien about her “head orgasms,” induced by the methodical touch of airport security pat-downs; novelist Andrea Seigel shared her experience with ASMR on the radio program “This American Life” last year; the “Dr. Oz” show has featured ASMR videos as a way to ease insomnia.
Hey, my name is Topaz and i have a question about my ASMR. I’ve been looking at youtube videos wondering what asmr was and trying to figure out if i have it aswell, then i thought about it. When ever some one slides the tip of their fingers through my hair and slowly pulls on the strands of my hair (not pulling it out) i get that tingly sensation on my head and on my neck for me to shrug my shoulder, I was wondering is that’s an asmr? Also,I like when some one or myself lightly slides their fingers on my arm, as well as the lower half of my back and on the sides of my neck just below the ear. Is that a sign of asmr? I tried to be specific as possible, please respond back and help me, Thank you c:
Upon first glance of some of the types of videos, the slow movements, close proximity to the camera, the soft voice. Some people assume quickly that all of this is to sexually arouse the viewer. After all we are bombarded with sultry images each day in our media. However everything that happens in the video is to induce ASMR. Those that begin to feel relaxed and enjoy the sounds realise that very soon after settling down to their first videos. Others are not sensitive to it and can’t understand. That’s fine too. Some people are just more sensitive to sound and touch than others.
I’m totally with you in similarity on that. I can get it from reading or watching something profound, and also being engaged in a deep connection with someone. I believe ASMR is the main reason why I used to believe in, and what I used to describe as, my third eye. Like Carlos Cruz, I also get the sensation from music, actually having been utterly attached my whole life to gaining these feelings from listening to music.
Few legitimate studies have been done on ASMR, and even fewer have discussed the link between it and frisson specifically. At this time[when?], much of the data on ASMR comes from primarily anecdotal sources. Although ASMR and frisson are "interrelated in that they appear to arise through similar physiological mechanisms", individuals who have experienced both describe them as qualitatively different, with different kinds of triggers. A 2018 fMRI study showed that the major brain regions already known to be activated in frisson are also activated in ASMR, and suggests that "the similar pattern of activation of both ASMR and frisson could explain their subjective similarities, such as their short duration and tingling sensation".
Replies to this post indicated that a significant number of other people had experienced the sensation which "okaywhatever" described - also in response to witnessing mundane events. The interchanges precipitated the formation of a number of web-based locations intended to facilitate further discussion and analysis of the phenomenon for which there were plentiful anecdotal accounts, yet no consensus-agreed name nor any scientific data or explanation.