This is how I can often be found – earbuds in ears. But I’m not usually listening to music – it’s typically ASMR videos on YouTube to which I am happily listening. If you would have asked me what ASMR was a year ago, I would not have had a clue. Now, it is a daily part of my life. Once I discovered what ASMR is, there was no turning back.
ASMR – which is short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – is typically described as a “phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli” (from the ASMR Wikipedia page here). Or, in my own words, ASMR for me is feeling tingly sensations in my head, and often, over my entire body, that are triggered by things like soft speaking, finger tapping, soft crinkly noises, and occasionally, even watching slow hand movements. Though the topic is often brought up, for myself and many, many others, ASMR is not sexual in nature at all. For me, ASMR is a tool to bring deep relaxation, to soothe anxiety, and help with insomnia. I have used ASMR videos for all three of those things with fantastic results.
One of the easiest ways to describe ASMR to someone who is unfamiliar with it is to think about being at the hair salon. Do you enjoy the way it feels when someone gently shampoos you hair? Do you like the feeling of your hair being softly brushed? Do certain types of touch or sounds give you pleasant feelings or goosebumps? This is ASMR. Not everyone experiences ASMR, but for those who do, it is a wonderful discovery. This is one of the first videos I watched to learn more about ASMR.
For me, ASMR is another form of meditation. I often enjoy listening to ASMR at work if I’m doing certain tasks, to help me relax. This is an example of a video I would listen to at the office. If I’m having a bout of anxiety, certain ASMR videos are excellent for helping to calm me – like this one. And if I’m having trouble falling asleep, I love listening to videos like this.
I can understand how this all seems pretty odd and unorthodox – sure, it is – but it works wonders for me, and for that, I am happy to spread the word. I am an anxious person by nature. I very often have an overactive imagination, deal with insomnia at times, and get anxiety. People that deal with these things will probably agree that you often look for ways to help deal with these issues. When you find something that helps, you hold on to it!
Often, there are people who do not experience the tingly sensations, but enjoy listening to ASMR purely to relax. I think that’s great, too. It’s not for everyone, but for those that it works for, it is truly a gift.
There is not really any scientific research or data to substantiate ASMR (not yet, anyway) – but that’s OK. I reap the benefits with less stress, more relaxation, and another way to ease anxiety. And it’s free!
This is a list of some of my favorite ASMR artists in no particular order, with links to their YouTube pages. This is not an exhaustive list – I’m always discovering new artists that I like – there are quite a few. As with anything, some ASMR artists are phenomenal, and some are just OK – you have to find what clicks for you.
Gentle Whispering (she is definitely one of the greats)
Do you have any experience with these sensations? Have you ever watched ASMR videos for relaxation?