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Is ASMR A Real Thing? What is ASMR?

Updated on January 7, 2013


When I was first told to watch an ASMR video on Youtube, I was a bit baffled by the idea. A good friend of mine tried explaining it to me in person, and I had no clue what she was talking about. In fact, I probably gave her a quizzical look when she first uttered the acronym. Then, it happened...I watched an ASMR video that made me feel so relaxed, so hypnotized. So entranced. The feeling actually lasted for hours. Floating on cloud nine, and more calm than I have ever felt on any given weeknight.

So what the heck is ASMR? Is it beneficial and real or just another crazy trend? Let's take a look at the world of ASMR, the theories and potential benefits behind it. You may find out that you yourself are indeed an ASMR-er.


My Favorite ASMR Video:

So what is ASMR?

ASMR is an acronym that stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. Or to put it simply, it is a pleasant, tingly feeling that a person can feel at the top of their head. In some cases, people can experience the tingles radiating over their entire heads, down their necks, and even to their limbs. Not everyone is known to have this physiological response, and most of the people who admit to having ASMR only have the feeling when they hear, see, feel, or experience certain things (meaning that it's not random but there are certain stimuli that trigger your body to have this response). Have you ever had someone brush your hair or perhaps give you a massage, and you've felt this amazingly relaxing tingly feeling in your head or neck? That is what ASMR is. Sometimes just a whisper or someone paying close attention to you might give you this feeling.

In recent years, there has been a surge of Youtube Channels that make videos of what they call "triggers" of sounds and visuals in order to induce the viewer to have an ASMR or the "head tingles". Other names for this phenomenon include "head-gasms" and "weird head sensation". There are others out there now, too.

If you were to search Youtube for ASMR, you would find hundreds of videos of various ASMR triggers. These include things such as people whispering or speaking very softly, tapping on objects, crinkling papers, crinkling plastic, brushing hair, slowly making things with their hands, and more. The ASMR phenomenon has taken on a subculture of sorts, almost its own community on the internet.

Another common video to trigger ASMR includes scenes where the video-creator acts out specific scenarios that are known to cause a person to experience ASMR. Haircuts, face painting, doctor's visits, ear examinations, suit-sizings, massages, and more are included into these ASMR role-playing trigger videos. To some this may seem quite fetish-like or strange, but if you have ASMR and watch these videos you will possibly become an ASMR-supporter (like me!).

What is the benefit of ASMR?

So now that you have an idea of what ASMR is, you might be wondering is there any point to this weirdness? Well, I'm here to assure you that there is. Since being introduced to ASMR recently, I am able to release my anxiety every night and have a full and restful night's sleep. The feeling of ASMR is one that is inherently relaxing and will have you melting into your bed in no time. Even if you don't experience the head tingles the first time, don't worry. You more than likely might later on. And if not, watch the videos just to introduce a sense of peace and relaxation to your evenings.

It's like having your own personal masseuse or stylist paying attention to you and only you...what could be more relaxing than that? Okay, maybe a real hairstylist or masseuse, but this is the next best thing.

In a world where everything is go-go-go, and we have to rush to do everything in life, what would it hurt to find 25 minutes to sit back, relax, and watch a video of such simplicity? Do you really think that watching an episode of Jersey Shore is going to put you into a Zen state of mind? Highly doubtful. Relaxation is a necessary state of being in keeps us healthy and strong.

Some people even find ASMR to be inspiring, as there are many artists and extremely creative individuals involved in the ASMR community. One of my favorite artist's in the ASMR online community is known as SilentCitadel. A majority of her videos show off her artwork, or even show her creating her pieces of art. This is relaxing to watch in and of itself, but throw in her whispering voice and tapping fingernails and wham! Instant head tingles and instant Zen. Check her out here:


Are you an ASMR-er?

Now that you know the basics of ASMR, you might want to shoot on over to Youtube and find out if you are indeed an ASMR-er. Before you do that, a few words to the wise to help encourage a state of relaxation:

  • sit in a comfortable chair or up in a bed
  • have the computer up close and personal
  • put on headphones or earbuds, the sound will seem much more realistic
  • try out different trigger videos, but give each of them time to sink in. Best to try one video out per night. The first time I watched them, it just relaxed head tingles. The second time though, head tingle-central.
  • don't let your husband/wife watch it with you, or they'll think you're into some weird stuff! (laughter I've been through it already!)

Creative people, introverts, and spiritual people tend to be the ones who really enjoy ASMR. Try it out and let me know what you all think.

Written and copyright © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.


Submit a Comment

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

    IULA - Awesome to hear! Thanks for reading.

  • profile image

    lULA 4 years ago

    Great post very informative.I didn't realize this had a term, and had no idea other people experienced the tingles. Listening to ASMR videos really helped me fall asleep faster.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

    Sunflower - I appreciate that you took your time to read the entire article, as it is very supportive of ASMR and its artists on the Youtube community. In fact, Silent Citadel who is a fairly well-known ASRM-artist was so supportive of this article that she posted it to her FB page and it gained the support of other ASMR-ers on the net. So AGAIN, thanks for your love and support. Many Blessings to you.

  • profile image

    sunflower456 4 years ago

    "So what the heck is ASMR? Is it beneficial and real or just another crazy trend?"

    I honestly felt offended by this question. In no way, shape or form is this a trend. I've had this since I was born. Just because YOU just discovered and youtube happened to come into existence, doesn't mean this things did not exist before. Say stuff like " or is it just another crazy trend" is demeaning because it's not true at all. Not even possible.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Thanks, McGamma - Ironically, I've been taking fish oil and multi-vitamins as well as eating healthy and my head tingles have definitely improved, LOL. Thanks for the link!

  • profile image

    MrGamma 5 years ago

    @kittythedreamer - Oh Yeah... Chakras seem to be a most definite parallel to the asmr experience. It may be the exact same thing only different terminologies, I don't know for sure. Synesthesia maybe too?

    Fish oil and healthy eating helped improve my asmr tingles. I think it's sensitivity, that not everyone has all the time because of prescription medications and bad eating habits. I'm not sure... You may like this though -

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    AP - You know, I never thought of the crown chakra thing but that makes total sense! Absolutely! Thanks for pointing that out, friend. And yes, it is a very good way for people to relax. Blessings!

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

    Hey thanks for turning me on to the ASMR, kitty. Will utilize your tips. Had one ASMR happen once listening to a lecture; it was like a tingly feeling started at the crown and then slowly spread downward. Always figured maybe something to do with the top chakra or top of head being an energy reciever. For those with trouble sleeping maybe this is the right ticket to relief too.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    silentcitadel - OH my gosh! Please do! I would be so delighted...I have my own youtube channel but just found ASMR and your channel so inspiring. My name on Youtube is rhiannondancingoak but yes, please use how you see fit, and thanks for letting me make mention of you! Many blessings. :)

  • profile image

    silentcitadel 5 years ago

    Hey! So..... yeah, I just googled myself (blush) and found this.

    I just wanted to say thanks for the shoutout in this article, what a treat! May I repost this?

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Dolores - Thanks so much! Let me know what you think. :)

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

    I've never heard of ASMR and am now intrigued. Anything to relax us in this day and age of anxiety is great. I know so many people with insomnia and experience it occasionally myself.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    sandra - Let me know what you think!

    Nell - How did the go go? LOL. Did it work for you?

    Nellieanna - Even if you don't try this out, no biggie! I appreciate the read and comment, as always. :)

    Laura - I really hope this helps you to relax...I know it does for me. Let me know how it goes. Blessings.

  • LauraD093 profile image

    Laura Tykarski 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

    Very interesting hub I have been having a lot of relaxation problems and recently my sleep cycle is all out of whack. I am willing to try anything for a good eight hours of sleep. Thanks for the information and links...wish me luck!

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

    I have a natural response such as this throughout my body at certain times. I don't try to stimulate it; it just happens.

    However, there are pressure points (nerves) in the face which can cause the relaxed-all-over response, as well. I never heard of ASMR, and wouldn't care to delve into it, since I go to sleep instantly and rest well as it is. Interesting, though - thanks for sharing, Kitty.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

    Now this sounds interesting! I am going over to have a go! thanks kitty, something new for me to explore! lol!

  • sandrabusby profile image

    Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

    Can't wait. I'm headed there now. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    soconfident - Check it out! :)

    Eddy - No problem. You have a wonderful day too!

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

    Interesting adn useful so thanks for the share.

    Have a great day.


  • soconfident profile image

    Derrick Bennett 5 years ago

    I never heard of this, but it sounds interesting. Great Hub!