It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and you just want to stay at home and chill on the Internet. You start browsing YouTube’s recommended videos until one catches your eye. You open it and see a girl whispering and tapping on basically random objects. At first it’s quite unsettling, but the more you watch, the more you feel relaxed and peaceful.
What is it? Why does it make you feel so good?
What you have just experienced is called ASMR and it’s more common than you think.
First things first, what does ASMR mean? It stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response, a tingly feeling typically starting on the scalp and moving down to the upper spine. If you’ve ever had your back scratched, you know what I’m talking about. This sensation can differ from person to person, though, and not everybody can feel it. What is common to almost everybody is a mental and physical relaxation, a scattered peaceful sensation.
Before we go on, here are few words you need to know.
Triggers: the stimuli that induces ASMR. Triggers can be intentional or unintentional.
Tingles: colloquial term for ASMR, it refers to all the feelings generated by a trigger. Tingles can also include goosebumps.
ASMRtist: a person who posts videos (usually on YouTube) containing intentional triggers, with the explicit purpose to induce ASMR.
ASMR can be induced by three types of triggers: visual, acoustic, and digital. Thanks to YouTube, visual and acoustic triggers are more common than digital ones. They consist in quiet sounds and slow movements, often a combination of both, made to relax and eventually trigger ASMR. But, again, everyone is different and what gives you tingles might be annoying for someone else. Anything can be a potential trigger. We’ll talk about the most common triggers in the next article.
As I said before, most ASMR videos can be found on YouTube and they are made by people who are referred to as ASMRtists. Most of them are young girls, but there is plenty of male ASMRtists too, and due to ASMR’s late popularity, there is a new channel almost every day. This way, anyone can find the right video to get tingles. Just a brief history of ASMR on YouTube: the first video ever made was from a channel called WhisperingLife and it was published in 2009. From 2010 to 2012, many other channels were created and the first ASMRtists started gaining popularity – the most popular is now Maria from Gentle Whispering ASMR, who published her first video in 2012 and has now more than 900k subscribers. Since then, ASMR has become more and more popular.
It is now important to clarify something: it is common belief that ASMR is somehow sexual. Even though there are some ASMRtists who make sexualised videos, ASMR itself has nothing to do with sex.
At last, you could wonder why is ASMR so popular. The reason is simple: people like it. ASMR community has become a safe place to relax, be positive and destress. ASMR has also helped people with insomnia or panic attacks. Even if you can’t get tingles, you can watch an ASMR video and relax, calm down or even fall asleep. Why don’t you give it a chance?