Have you ever heard of ASMR? It stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Very scientific sounding right? It’s actually a simple sensation, with a complicated explanation.
Most people define ASMR as the tingling sensation that occurs from the back of your head traveling up and down the spine. People claim to experience this tingling all over the body, and it can sometimes be associated with sexual pleasure though it is often misleading to consider ASMR as being about sex. The majority of this phenomenon has absolutely nothing to do with sex, rather very much the opposite.
Some people describe it as being about nostalgia. When your partner gently rubs your back or a friend plays with your hair and it reminds you of something a parent or guardian would do to soothe you to sleep as a child. Some people describe it being simply about any sounds they have a particular liking for.
So at this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m rambling about this weird phenomenon right? Well, the reason is, I have recently become obsessed with ASMR media. YouTube, the great place for all weird obsessions and trends, is home to what’s known as the ASMR artists community. It’s not just a community for the artists themselves, but for anyone who claims that they have and do experience ASMR as well as anyone who finds the content relaxing. An ASMR artist is usually someone who experiences ASMR and uses their own experiences and memories, as well as the basic knowledge of what “triggers” the ASMR response, and creates content on YouTube to cause this response and/or relax their viewers.
The main idea behind ASMR is to find any way possible to “trigger” the response. The point being that not only does this usually cause a pleasant tingling sensation, but the “triggers” are usually very relaxing and can even be therapeutic for sleep. The most common triggers are soft speaking/whispering, this involves a myriad of speech and mouth sounds, tapping, page turning, hand movements, face brushing, etc.
The possibilities are endless and each person is different. Role play is a very popular form of content probably because it acts out different real life situations where someone could find themselves experiencing ASMR.
I’ll continue to tell you more about ASMR on my blog in the future. The particular reason I’m discussing it today has to do with what ASMR has meant to me. As someone who struggles with ADD, be that the attention problems as well as the natural restlessness, I also have to deal with side effects of the meds I take. I often find myself unable to fall asleep easily at night, and I can almost never take a nap during the day. ASMR has changed all of that for me. I simply plug in my headphones to my laptop, go to YouTube, and search through all the latest content as well as all my old favorites. I consider a good ASMR video to be one that features someone warm and kind looking, with a soft and pleasant voice, who is very attentive and organized in their content. I’m experiencing ASMR right now just thinking about my favorites. (To give you an idea, it feels like something is gently brushing the top of my head and lightly down my neck, it produces a euphoric feeling with it). The best ones can put me to sleep when I want, but can also simply relax me when I don’t want to sleep.
For me, ASMR is an answer to a prayer I never realized I could ask. I have always been a physical person in the sense that I like hugs, and when I was little I loved to play with people’s hands and have my back rubbed. I thought situations in real life that created those feelings were supposed to be avoided, or that I wasn’t supposed to talk about them. Then I found out that there was nothing wrong with these feelings and that many people experience them.
At the heart of it, ASMR is about establishing a level of connection and intimacy that is growing harder and harder to maintain. It proves that we have a lack of affection for each other and it’s hurting us, creating the need for strangers to reach through their cameras and computers to care for others like them, who just want to know they matter, and that they are loved. ASMR gives me a place to go where I can feel safe and warm, knowing someone thinks I’m worth caring for.
However and wherever your safe place is, I hope it gives you joy, and that you can share it with someone, somehow.
P.S. If anyone reading this is an ASMR fan or artist, if I left out anything you think I shouldn’t have, or said anything wrong, please don’t hesitate to let me know!