What is ASMR? Well, the simple answer is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. I’m sure you’re still scratching your head asking, “And what is that?!”
I discovered ASMR when I was pregnant with C. I was in the Army and I was on the mid shift, I needed to sleep during the day so I could be up at night. I was always an insomniac but I had the added joy of pregnancy insomnia. I used to love watching Bob Ross on The Joy of Painting as his voice was so soothing and her mannerisms were relaxing as well. I was trying to YouTube his videos and despite my best efforts there aren’t that many out there. So I ran across a woman named Lita who has a silky, soft, utterly relaxing voice where she demonstrates massage techniques and basically melts your entire being into a pool of goo; goo that is now dying for a massage!.
The more I searched for videos similar to this, the more I discovered certain subject content not only made me sleepy and relaxed, but also gave me these chill-like tingles. They start at the top of my head and enjoyably slither down my neck and back. Occasionally they find their way down my arms. This feeling is the most pleasant experience and one I only thought I would get through touch (such as a massage or light touches down your neck and back). I had come to find that this sensation of tingles was also able to be achieved through sight and sound.
I found that I like videos about hair (styling, brushing, cutting), massage, jewelry (think home shopping network) and so I would search for tutorials on these subjects. Well one day I stumbled across a video that said ASMR in the title or description and seemed to be tailored specifically to people who enjoyed watching these tutorial type videos. This was over 3 years ago. From then on I discovered a whole new world (move over Jasmine), this ASMR community. At first glance, it was a fledgling community with a small following. There were a handful of people making these videos and they were good. I then found Maria aka GentleWhispering. Oh. My. Goodness.
The level of detail and effort she put into her videos was astounding. The soft spoken voice and whispering voice she has is perfectly suited for ASMR. Her creative ideas are exactly what I was looking for. By the time I found her channel (they are now affectionately referred to as ASMR artists) I had discovered the term “triggers” which refers to the types of things that trigger you and give you the chill-like sensation also coined by many in the community as “tingles”. My triggers were whispering, tapping, softly speaking, accents, hair and make-up role plays, and more. Maria has these gentle ways of movement with her hands and gestures. She moves slowly and gracefully and the rhythm of her voice can be mesmerizing. I never would make it to the end of any of her videos. I would always be passed out around 8-10 minutes in. I would go back the next night in hopes of seeing the end, but alas, I would be deep into dreamland.
The ASMR community is now booming, new artists are popping up, and there are so many triggers to keep track of it’ll blow your mind. But it seems there are more than enough people that do not or cannot experience ASMR. I wonder why that may be. For me, the setting has to be right. No distraction, no other sounds around me (head phones are a must), my mind cannot be wandering or the effect eludes me. I’ve come up with a few items ASMR virgins may want to try if they hope to experience this mind numbing, sleep inducing, relaxed state.
1.Sit down or lay down somewhere comfortable where you won’t feel the need to constantly move around or adjust.
2.Watch these videos at a time you won’t be disturbed (I know this is difficult for those of us with kids, I tend to only be able to watch at night when the kids are asleep).
3.Be aware that it may take a long time to find your own triggers and artists that get a response from your nervous system. Some people, while they make absolutely awesome videos, elicit no ASMR from me whatsoever. It’s funny, some of these artists are so good and make such interesting videos that I will watch them even though I know I won’t experience ASMR. I still find them relaxing so I subscribe and enjoy.
4.This is a BIG one. Stop thinking. Easy, right?! I have one of those minds that don’t quit. Always thinking, pondering, wondering. But I’ve found when I immerse myself in a video and let it take my full attention that the tingles are abundant and intense. As soon as my mind starts to wander, the tingles disappear.
5.Browse, browse, browse. Search keywords. Tapping, whisper, role-play, camera brushing, scratching, typing, hair, etc. Some people like slow and deliberate tapping while others enjoy movements that are quick and loud.
6.Lastly, try not to let the initial weirdness of it all turn you away. I do understand that it is not your garden variety YouTube video. But I promise that if you are one of the lucky ones who are able to experience ASMR, it’ll be worth it to drive on and find your place.
Another interesting tidbit, I (and many others) have discovered that you can give yourself a sort of ASMR burnout where the more you watch, the less you’ll get tingles. And it seems the only cure is to take a break or find something new and different. I’ve found that when I don’t watch every night, the tingles stick around and are always strong. Too much of a good thing can definitely limit your experience.
Of course, there is no fun in a post such as this without a few links and examples! My subscriptions include:
Heather Feather https://www.youtube.com/user/HeatherFeatherASMR/videos
Olivia’s Kissper ASMR (she is by far my favorite, and has given me the strongest tingles, most consistently) https://www.youtube.com/user/OliviaKissperASMR/videos
Hailey WhisperingRose https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFDJKJ-TbnvGLVky0iTdUEw
There are many more ASMR artists I enjoy but these people churn out videos and really hit a wide variety of triggers. The are inventive and creative and dedicated and they have QUITE the following. If I can ever figure out the right equipment I need to make my own ASMR videos I would hope to one day be at their level.