What is ASMR?

Have you ever got that tingly feeling all over your body when someone whispers in your ear or maybe a sensation run down the spine when the person next to you crunches on corn chips… if this is you then you may have already experienced ASMR.

ASMR stands for ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’, and is characterised by a physical tingling sensation that begins in your scalp and moves down through your body. It is often triggered by auditory stimuli called triggers (e.g. whispering in your ear), but physical touch can also work.

It may seem a bit odd, especially if the trigger doesn’t resonate with you, but ASMR is hugely popular and gaining a lot of momentum, as more people tune into ASMR channels for the de-stressing, sleep-inducing and mood-boosting effects.

W Magazine created an ASMR series with a number of high-profile celebs including Cardi B & Salma Hayek. Margot Robbie clip saw her whispering her career highlights whilst spreading vegemite onto toast.

ASMR videos usually feature a single person (ASMRtist) performing actions and recording the sounds into a hi-spec mic, typically these are soft and repetitive sounds or motions. It’s these specific sights or sounds (called triggers) that create a physical sensation for you, starting at the top of your head (coined ‘brain tingles’), spreading down through your whole body. Those who experience it describe it as a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation.

There is no one trigger that is universal to everyone. What causes ASMR in one person might not work for you. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Whispering voice, (one of the most popular triggers)
  • Lip-smacking, loud chewing or crunching, chewing gum (some people’s worse nightmare)
  • Crinkling and crumpling of paper
  • Repetitive sounds e.g. turning the pages of a book
  • Fingernails scratching or tapping on surfaces

The scientific research behind ASMR’s effectiveness is growing –  a recent study by the University of Sheffield showed ASMR participants experienced a drop-in heart rate of about 3.14 beats per minute and reported significant increases in positive emotions and feelings of social connection.

The primary benefit of ASMR and why it’s gaining such popularity is that it relaxes people and provides a general sense of wellbeing, hence the comparison to mindfulness.   Find the right trigger for you and you might find yourself zoning out to ASMR videos, feeling more relaxed, calmer and sleeping better.

Type ‘ASMR’ into YouTube and you will find a huge number of hits, such as Gentle Whispering ASMR with an incredible 1.7million subscribers, her videos range from instructions on how to fold handtowels, to gentle hand movements all whilst softly whispering. Emma Smith from WhispersRedASMR with 785,000 subscribers with her hair brushing with nail tapping and hand sounds.  It’s also popular on other social channels such as Instagram – @talisa.tossell has 1.3million fans. There is @slime_og/ (1.3 million fans) who does needling white glue slushee with crackling sounds, or watch slime be poured and folded over and over with @Slimeobsidian ( 1 million followers).  And, Brain Tingles: The Secret to Triggering Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response for Improved Sleep, Stress Relief, and Head-to-Toe Euphoria available on Amazon as an audio book.

ASMR videos don’t work for everyone, you need to find the trigger that works for you, do some surfing of the different channels and see what might resonate for you. A good place to start is ASMRtist Emma Smith’s has created –  ’22 ASMR Triggers video’ (her most-watched video) and find what might press your ASMR button …. Happy Tingles.

This is a guest post by Claire Aristides, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Mindset Coach.
@clairearistides  |   www.clairearistides.com   |  [email protected]