What Is ASMR?

What is ASMR? ASMR and the Brain - The ASMR

What Is ASMR?

Definition, Triggers And Benefits

Have you ever felt a certain tingling, relaxing sensation when someone brushed your arm, stroked your curls or whispered in your ears? Well you are not the only one experiencing what has been referred to as ASMR.

ASMR Meaning

ASMR refers to the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it is a physical tingling sensation that begins in your scalp and moves down through the spine to the limbs. It is often triggered by an audible stimuli, such as whispering or scratching, though it can also be triggered through physical touch.

ASMR is also referred to as Attention Induced Head Orgasm (AIHO) or Attention Induced Euphoria (AIE).

The Science Behind ASMR

Science has not explained ASMR clearly. However, it is believed that endorphins, which are responsible for child-parent bonding, are the primary cause of the sensation.

When a child and parent are close, the infant’s brain releases endorphin neurotransmitter receptors which inhibit pain while causing relaxation. The release of endorphins is stimulated whenever closely-bonded individuals are brought close together.

The stimulation of endorphins sends a signal to the brain that is perceived as safe and trustworthy, thus causing the individual to relax and sometimes fall asleep. Although this theory has not been tested and proved, it highlights key issues about experiencing ASMR which are factual.

To begin with, there has to be some sense of trust that comes with feeling safe around someone for you to experience this unique sensation. This explains why most people get their first ASMR experience at childhood but probably don’t know what it is until you grow up and discover that the feeling has a name.

The bond between mother and child has been identified as the strongest ASMR stimuli, since we all feel safe in our mother’s arms, even as adults.

What Triggers ASMR?

What is ASMR? Do Whispers Trigger It? - The ASMR

ASMR is an autonomous or spontaneous feeling. It happens without much effort on your part. However, since it brings such pleasure that some people attempt to trigger it using audio, video or visuals.

The key issue to note about ASMR triggers is that no one trigger is universal to everyone. What causes ASMR in one person might not work for you.

Concentrating on a task can also cause a powerful sensation. These tasks can involve watching someone painting or someone folding towels.

There are dozens of ASMR stimulators that have not been documented. In some cases, the individuals don’t even realize that they are experiencing ASMR, thus making it difficult to document the stimuli.

You may need to experiment with a range of stimuli to find the one that best works for you.

Popular Triggers

Here are some of the best-known ASMR triggers:


Whispering is known to be one of the most powerful triggers. Whispering creates intense ASMR when earphones are used.

The main focus on this stimulus is the sound rather than the words, and whispering is such a popular trigger that thousands of YouTube videos designed to trigger ASMR use a whispering technique.

Soft Talking

Soft talking voice is another popular trigger, particularly when a female voice is used. Soft talking voice is known to create such a powerful ASMR that causes one to sleep in most cases.

Scratching and Tapping

Scratching and tapping is another common trigger that uses microphone scratching and tapping on the table.

Sometimes, nails can be used, particularly if a female has long beautiful nails. Scratching a surface with the cute nails can cause an intense ASMR.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is one of the most popular triggers. A gentle touch on the hand can cause a powerful ASMR especially if the individuals are romantically involved.

The next time you are around your boyfriend/girlfriend give them a gentle hand touch and watch their reaction.

Personal Attention

Receiving personal attention from someone such as having your hair done, getting a massage, having your make- up done or getting an eye exam.

Hair Play

Hair play causes a powerful sensation especially when soft spoken voices are combined with personal attention.

Personal attention, in this case, refers to activities such as someone playing with your hair, visit to a dentist or a teacher providing guidance.

Page Turning

A page turning is a unique trigger that most people struggle to understand. However, for those who get triggered by it, they understand that it is such a powerful trigger.

Why Do You Need To Experience ASMR?

Experiencing ASMR is not just to satisfy curiosity as most people believe. Experiencing this sensational feeling has a number of health benefits that we all should strive to meet.

First, relaxing is the biggest advantage of this feeling. When you are relaxed, a lot of things in your body and your life fall into place.

These benefits include reducing stress level, improved blood flow, improved digestion, improving mood and a key mechanism of weight loss.

Relaxation is also important for meditation (with has numerous health benefits), and this has caused most people to adopt ASMR in their meditation practice.

What is ASMR? Does it Improve Sleep - The ASMR

ASMR is known to improve sleep since most of the triggers listed above are known to induce sleep. The importance of sleep in your body can not be over-emphasized, particularly in this fast- paced world where everything seems to move twice as fast as it should.

ASMR is especially beneficial to individuals suffering from insomnia as they can watch videos that cause them to relax and fall asleep.

ASMR Youtube Videos

As pointed out above, ASMR is a spontaneous feeling. However, the concept has become so popular that it has created a large online community dedicated to stimulating ASMR using a range of stimuli.

Some of the top rated videos worth checking out include:

Bob Ross and Painting Joy

With his soothing voice, nuggets of wisdom and artistic painting skills, Bob can definitely work for anyone. His videos have received numerous views mainly because they are brief, interesting and truly inspirational.

So sad he is not around anymore to make more (RIP), but the available ones can definitely give you an ASMR experience, even if you have never experienced it.

Custom Namiki Fountain Pen HD

Two main properties in this video can trigger ASMR; scratching of the fountain tip and intricate detailing of the writer’s penmanship. At a glance, it seems like a boring video, but trust me, there is something about it that will give you a strong sensation.

TM Lewis On How To Iron A Shirt

The video sounds obvious, I mean what is interesting about how to iron a shirt, but the accent and forms of speech in this video will definitely trigger ASMR. Lewis’ British accent combined with a gentle voice will not only cause you to ASMR but fall asleep as well.

Thus while answering the question what ASMR actually is, four issues are important; the meaning of ASMR, the science behind it, the triggers that cause ASMR and benefits of ASMR. All these questions have been answered in the article.

ASMR Meaning (Infographic)

What Is The Meaning of ASMR Infographic - The ASMR

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BONUS – 7 ASMR Explanation Videos

These 7 Videos will give you even more information on what ASMR is! Which is your favorite?