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ASMR, Bob Ross, and That Tingly Feeling in Your Head

Updated on March 1, 2016
Buddha after an ASMR session
Buddha after an ASMR session | Source

What is ASMR?

The term ASMR was coined in 2010 to give a name to the sensation few people talk about or can even describe. It hasn't been scientifically named yet, or studied for that matter. It is speculated that the sensation is caused by a release of dopamine, but it is hard to research a a neurological "feeling."

The sensation is usually felt as a tingle or warmth, and is usually sensed along the back of the head, behind the neck, between the shoulder blades, or along the spine. Along with the tingle, a person will get very, very relaxed. ASMR can be triggered by massages, make-up application, whispering, tapping fingernails or even eye exams.

Unfortunately, a small percentage of the population never gets that tingly feeling at all. I guess that explains grumpy people.

How I discovered ASMR

I have always enjoyed watching the make-up infomercials where women are given makeovers. I get a tingle up the back of my neck, which will then spread down between my shoulder blades.

I also experienced this feeling when my young daughters applied "makeup" to my face or brushed my hair.The "tingles" could relieve the stress better than a good massage.

I didn't know that the relaxing tingling sensation had a name until I had trouble sleeping one night. I thought some relaxing "spa" music would help me relax. I did a search on YouTube for some soothing music and instead found something even better: ASMR.

Where can I get the ASMR tingle?

While many times you can experience ASMR while getting a haircut or listening to a soothing speaker, if you want that relaxing tingle the ASMR experience is at your fingertips - online videos.

Crinkle Bags

YouTube: Nirvana for ASMR afficiandos

If you search YouTube for ASMR, you will find over millions of videos dedicated to the subject.The quality ranges from amateur video with poor lighting and low video clarity to some that seem professionally done.

ASMR is triggered by different things in different people, and YouTube caters to all everyone. Some videos are of crinkling gift wrap, some are fingers tapping on glass. There are many dedicated to massage - virtual and real. Haircuts, hairbrushing, and make-up application are the most popular. Role playing videos run the gamut from doctor's appointments to the process of passport application.

I remember the tingly feeling I got when I first watched the "tea ceremony" scene in Karate Kid II. Yep, you can find that on YouTube, too!

Even a Bob Ross infomercial is soothing.

Bob Ross and ASMR

Though Bob Ross has passed on, his videos live on with the ASMR community and YouTube.We all remember the PBS painting star, he of the soothing, encouraging voice and gentle tap, tap, tapping of brush against canvas.

A military veteran, Bob Ross said his landscapes were inspired by the Alaskan mountains he grew to love during his tours of active duty.

The military also had a profound effect on Ross's personality. He didn't like the person he had to be on active duty, and swore to never yell again after reentering the civilian life. It's a promise he kept, much to the delight of his millions of fans who could not only relax and be soothed, but could also learn to oil paint.

My Favorite GentleWhispering ASMR video.

GentleWhispering, YouTube ASMR Superstar

The superstar of YouTube and ASMR is a woman who uses the name GenlteWhispering. Using the name Maria in interviews, she is popular in America and her home country, Russia.

She is a pretty woman with a soft voice with a touch of a Russian accent. She is popular for her role playing videos.

Soldiers watch her videos in the combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Maine PBS, Maria says the soldiers "...share with me how much they struggle with their nightmares.The ASMR whisper videos, they actually help them fall asleep better..."

GentleWhispering has over 170million video views on YouTube. She also has a website on YouTube in both English and Russian if you wish to learn a little bit more about her.

This is a list of my top 5 GentleWhispering videos: Top Five GentleWhispering videos.

VeniVidiVulpes and ASMR

A woman named Violet, whose username is VeniVidiVulpes, is another YouTube favorite. Her ASMR videos have over 5,600,000 views collectively.

Pretty with a very pleasant voice, she specializes in reading stories and doing virtual shaves, makeovers, and haircuts.

She also has fairly long videos, some over an hour, for those nights where it is really difficult to relax and fall asleep.

ASMR and Massage

ASMR and massage go together like peas and carrots. It doesn't matter what body part is being massaged, I enjoy watching them.

This particular video is very nice. It is a Scottish woman demonstrating how to give yourself a hand massage. Is it the massage or the voice which triggers the ASMR tingles?

The video was provided by About Homespa Beauty, a Scottish company. It is not marketed directly at the ASMR experience, but it does have a lot of videos that would qualify.

An Enticing Male ASMR Star: WhisperMister1

WhisperMister1 is an up and coming "whisperer." ASMR on YouTube is dominated by female soft talkers, but there are a few men who have become favorites.

I can find almost no information on WhisperMister. He is young, British and utterly charming. He is a little green, but his videos are captivating because he is so darn cute!

Manolo sleeping
Manolo sleeping | Source

Time to Rest

I hope you are one of the many people who get those tingles on your scalp and down your spine that help you relax. If you are check out ASMR, massage, or soft talking on YouTube. You may find the videos a little odd at first, but just go along with them. Before you know it, you'll be hooked.

The next time you have trouble sleeping, try watching one or two of the ASMR videos. You may be surprised what a wonderful, natural sleep aid they can be.

Goodnight, all.

Pleasant dreams. :)

Has you heard of ASMR before today?

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    • profile image

      Max1982 2 years ago

      I'm glad you like it :)

      Yes, pages being turned is also one of my triggers. Probably because it reminds me of my childhood, when I used to read books every night before bedtime. I don't do that very often these days, maybe I should start doing it again...

      By the way, the channel where that video I posted is from (or was, looks like it was removed) seems to specialize on ASMR videos. They have some interesting stuff on there, for example this video of greaseproof paper or this one of a pillow filled with cherry stones

      What do you think of these?

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image

      Gable Rhoads 2 years ago from North Dakota

      Pages being turned are a great one for me. Thanks, Max.

    • profile image

      Max1982 2 years ago

      I really need to watch Bob Ross again. I remember watching his videos when I was a little boy while my mom was cooking dinner. They always made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)

      Of course my taste has changed a bit over the years, these days my triggers are more "mechanical" like someone popping bubble wrap or even stapling something. Last night I discovered a video of a girl crumpling tin foil and it really calmed me down before I went to sleep. Here it is if you are interested:

      The crackling sounds are really out of this world ;)

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      A lot of different things trigger ASMR in people. Having my hairbrushed is another trigger for me. :)

    • profile image

      deeann 4 years ago

      Having an animal eat from your hand will do this too

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Thank you, SoundNFury. I only discovered ASMR as a word a few weeks ago myself. My triggers are hair cutting and makeup application. :)

    • SoundNFury profile image

      Michael Valencia 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you for covering this topic with a great hub! Although I have experienced it for years, I never knew that there was an entire community devoted to ASMR until last year. I love browsing the youtube videos late at night and have also posted a couple of short ones myself. I remember falling asleep or struggling to stay awake during the "classroom programming" on public television (where there's a teacher and chalkboard) - and that's the beauty of ASMR, that different people will have different triggers. Voted up and shared.