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.
In addition to the effectiveness of specific auditory stimuli, many subjects report that ASMR is triggered by the receipt of tender personal attention, often comprising combined physical touch and vocal expression, such as when having their hair cut, nails painted, ears cleaned, or back massaged, whilst the service provider speaks quietly to the recipient. Furthermore, many of those who have experienced ASMR during these and other comparable encounters with a service provider report that watching an "ASMRtist" simulate the provision of such personal attention, acting directly to the camera as if the viewer were the recipient of a simulated service, is sufficient to trigger it.
A group of psychologists at the University of Sheffield published a paper earlier this year in the journal PLOS One that reported for the first time that people who report experiencing the sensation actually do appear to have a physiological response: their heart rates tend to slow down. The researchers recruited 112 individuals, half of who reported experiencing ASMR and the rest of whom reported not experiencing the sensation and monitored everyone’s heart rate while watching an ASMR video.
So many people have experienced the ASMR sensation as long as they can remember and for a long time many searched for visual aids on TV and YouTube. Shopping Channels, Antiques Roadshow and Children’s art shows to name a few have in the past been regularly frequented by people looking for instant triggers for their ASMR. However Bob Ross and his show ‘The Joy of Painting’ is considered by many to be the Godfather of ASMR!
“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.”
I have had ASMR for as long as I can remember, but had no idea it was actually a recognised thing! I only get mine from for example; someone looking through my makeup bag, or using something of mine, anything that is gentle and concentrated (if that makes sense) I watch ASMR videos which are makeup tutorials or spa role plays – they are amazing for relaxation and sleep.
I have never heard of ASMR or its triggers, but having just read the article – all I can say is THANK YOU! I have wondered for years why certain things like just silently “humming” the tune of song inside my head induces a full body reaction (goosebumps), or as the author mentioned, someone brushing my hair, or lightly running fingertips over my skin – my arms especially – induces goosebumps. It is such a pleasant soothing feeling but I never knew why. I’ve spent my adult life thinking I was “weird” but I guess I”m not. The soothing arm rubbing I’ve experienced since a child – I used to pay my younger siblings to rub my arms for me..= ). I will definitely read up more on this.
I experience both asmr and frisson so I am familiar with both. They are similar in that they both cause a tingling sensation. Asmr is triggered mainly by physical senses (sight, sound, sometimes smell) and produces a relaxing effect. Like you literally can fall asleep from it. Frisson is triggered by thought and emotion and produces an exciting effect.