The Rise of ASMR
Whether it’s with hair-brushing, whispering, or fingertips across paper ASMR is on the tip of everybody’s tongues.
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is a bodily experience that sends a rippling static-like feeling, or tingling, sensation across the skin.
Hello ‘head-gasm’. ASMR affects the scalp, the back of the neck and upper spine but ASMRtists, note that it can affect the listener anywhere on their body. Anything from fingernails drumming on a table, hands through hair, or paint brushes on canvasses are called “triggers”.
So, what for some people can be a source of irritation, for others generates feelings of bliss. The head ‘tingle’ can provide a meditative sense of mindfulness and relaxation; perhaps a perfect tool to use before bed, or if you’re struggling to switch off from work.
ASMRtists are those who are usually found lurking in a 100 video deep playlist on YouTube or in an ASMR dedicated feed on Reddit. They spend their time sharing the art of provoking ASMR by creating different videos and auditory tracks with binaural beats.
Like Synesthesia, ASMR is an unlikely marriage of sensations. ASMR links hearing a particular sound to a physical reaction and synesthesia links all senses.
… the sound of making tea, or perhaps the tap of a keyboard…
“It’s a unique, supremely pleasurable feeling. Imagine a tuning fork going off at the base of your skull. The sensation — akin to a cool tingling — spreads like spilt liquid up into the back of the head, down the neck and into part of the back. At least, that’s what it’s like for me…” says Jason Abbruzzese, for Mashable.
According to Jason, and Heather Feather (an ASMRtists) many noticed the feeling for the first time when they saw old Bob Ross tapes. Bob Ross was an American painter with a tendency to speak softly, straight to camera and with a relaxing lilt. The paintbrush across the canvas, the dripping of paint and the scratching of paint brush bristles could all attribute to getting that ASMR.
With ASMRtists spending more and more time exploring what creates the ASMR, and which sounds can relate to different parts of the body, it’s no wonder that the focus has moved on from the normality of painting, to newer alternatives: role-play hair cuts,
…a knife cutting through kinetic sand, or taps filling up a bath…
I liken it to listening to someone talk with an accent. Whilst I don’t get ASM Responses, I do enjoy listening to people talk — it can be quite relaxing. With an Irish accent, specifically a tinkling, musical Southern Irish accent it’s very easy for me to switch off and just enjoy listening. I struggle more to relax with the flat, longer tones of listening to a Yorkshire accent.
Now, scrolling through your Instagram feed, your YouTube Subscription Box, or even your Facebook feed you can’t escape ASMR — and why would you want to?
Use it as a relaxation tool. Find your idyllic ASMR trigger by exploration.
What gives you your ‘head-gasm’?