What is ASMR?

As you can see in my profile, I’m a mobile developer. You’re probably thinking… “Oh! There is a new programming concept! Let’s see…Is it FP? Is it a new architecture?”. Sorry guys, but today, I’m not going to talk about programming, I’m going to talk about psychology and neuroscience. Why you ask? Why not?! I’m a curious person and sometimes I like to read things that have nothing to do with programming, that’s it. I know, weird, right?

“It might be a real thing, but it’s inherently difficult to investigate. It’s like synesthesia, which for years has been a myth, until in the 90s a reliable way of measuring appeared.” — Tom Stafford, professor of Sheffield University.

So…What is ASMR?

ASMR is “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response”. It’s an almost unknown biological phenomenon and has practically not been studied. Although, with the current technology, there could be many advances. Jennifer Allen is the woman who coined the term in 2010.

“I first remember experiencing ASMR and noting that it was a strange occurrence in my early 20s. I searched the Internet a number of times for any indication of what the experience was or who else might share it, but found nothing for over a decade. I would periodically check, but never came up with results until I stumbled on the steadyhealth.com forum thread titled, “Weird sensation feels good”. Once I read the accounts of others, I realized what I was experiencing was similar and decided to pursue answers.” — Jennifer Allen.

This term is also called brain orgasm (“braingasms”) because it feels like a very small tickle in the upper part of the head followed by a deep relaxation when exposed to certain stimuli or situations.

Let’s see if you’re one of the lucky ones! Check out this video to find out:

If you see the video, maybe you can understand the photo above ;)

Not everybody experiences ASMR and those that do, vary from person to person. Because of this, there are different types of ASMR.

Types of ASMR

In spite of not having scientific studies that determine the different types, it’s possible to observe three main triggers of ASMR:

  • Auditory 👂🏻 (ASMR-A): this type of ASMR is induced by some type of auditory stimulus, either by a person speaking quietly, whispering, or by the execution of rhythmic or repetitive sounds like typing, touching the hands or drumming on certain objects or maybe among other types of sound such as brushing two objects, etcetera.
  • Visual 👁 (ASMR-V): in this case, the ASMR sensation is induced by visual stimuli. This can become quite complex, since some complex situations or specific dispositions of objects or environment can produce the ASMR sensation in an individual, but not the individual elements themselves. ASMR-V can also be triggered by lights or objects that cross the visual field of the individual. This includes certain combinations of colors or movements with different objects…
  • Tactile 🤚🏻 (ASMR-T): ASMR-T response is awaken or enhanced by means of tactile stimuli such as caresses on the face, hands on the head or shoulders, soft touches with the fingers on certain parts of the body or maybe certain massages.

But, some people can experience ASMR because of the combination of different types such as ASMR-VA (visual and auditory), ASMR-VT (visual and tactile), ASMR-AT (auditory and tactile) or ASMR-VAT (visual, auditory and tactile). Also, some people can experience ASMR-S that is induced by specific situations: being in a class, seeing a person doing something specific, etcetera.

What does science says?

Despite having an official sounding name (ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), in the real world there isn’t scientific research for it, yet. The percentage of people who can experience ASMR (it seems to be more frequent among introverts), nor its neurological basis nor which parts of the brain are involved, is exactly known. ASMR is currently not officially recognized by the medical community.

There are many hypotheses about why this happens and in which cases.

While we’re waiting for science to shed some light and provide a plausible explanation for the phenomenon, there are those who are beginning to appreciate the potential of ASMR as a relaxing technique. Many people who experience it say that videos help them sleep or reduce anxiety, leaving an interesting field to explore on possible therapeutic applications of ASMR as an alternative natural relief for stress, insomnia or anxiety.

This is a ASMR relaxation session

Curious fact

There are a special speakers that are a fetish for ASMR people! 😱 This device allows you to create independent sounds for each ear. When you listen to the audio, it reproduces the sound targeted specifically either to your right ear, to the left or to both. It helps to experience ASMR.

“3Dio manufactures professional binaural microphones that are the premier 3D audio recording device for ASMR, VR virtual reality, field recording and recording studios. Used all over the world by hobbyists and professional recording engineers alike, 3Dio binaural microphones, omni binaural microphones and accessories are a must-have for anyone looking for the best in 3D audio capturing.”
Hand sounds…

There are a lot of videos on internet about this because it’s a trending phenomenon on social networks.


If you are interested in reading Jennifer Allen’s entire interview, follow the link. She talks about when she coin the term, when she started to experience it, what she thinks about the community…

On the other hand, if you want to see if you can experiment this biological phenomenon, here I share some videos about that, but you can find more on Youtube.

NOTE: It’s better if you use headphones because you can avoid the noise around you.

ASMR Visual and Auditory
ASMR Visual only

Do you know ASMR? Do you experiment it? How it helps you?

Give me a ❤️ if you like the post! :)

Thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Give Sarai Díaz a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.