So what the heck am I talking about, you might ask? ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it is a clinical sounding name for the tingles that come over your brain and cause you to fall into a state of immediate relaxation. not everyone can experience it, but I have been affected by it since I was a kid and until a couple of years ago…I had no idea it had a name. (The name is somewhat unofficial, but it has been accepted by the ASMR community and is the one that is most often associated with the feeling.)
Long story short as to how I got involved in this whole ASMR thing…several years ago, a friend of mine who I worked with at a hospital gave me a tape (yes, I said “tape”) that her doctor made for her after an accident that was geared to offer suggestions to help her relax and let go of the pain she was feeling as she recovered. The doctor had a soothing, monotone voice and he said things like “Imagine lying under a tree and see the branches spreading out above you.” “Imagine floating on a beautiful cloud.” “Picture a beautiful sunset.” I don’t know if it was the image he painted or the way that he said it, but I felt this warm sensation in my head and had a burning desire to go to sleep. I remembered having felt this sensation in the past…usually when I was at slumber parties and we played the Alphabet Game on each other’s back. (I kept hoping someone would be kind enough to spell out “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” so that I could conk out…but that never happened.) Just like the doctor’s words, the light touches had that same sort of effect on me and while I never asked anyone else if they felt it too…I sort of assumed everyone did to a certain extent…Boy was I ever wrong about that!
After discovering the doctor’s “biofeedback” tape, I turned to guided mediations and white noise whenever I was feeling particularly stressed or if I was having trouble falling asleep and somewhere along the line, while trolling YouTube, I found “whisper” videos. Now, I’m not going to lie…these things looked and sounded weird the first time I heard them. The were videos of people rambling about NOTHING for 15 minutes in these super soft voices. Eventually I found a few people whose soft-spoken timbre hit the right nerve with me and helped me go to sleep, but a few months later, I noticed that all of these videos now seemed to be peppered with a new term, ASMR.
There was also a wider variety of videos (at least it seemed that way to me…I suspect that there has always been a wide variety of these kinds of videos…I just wasn’t looking for specific “triggers”). There were people who would pretend to wash your hair, give you a manicure, give you a eye exam, rummage through their hand bag for an hour…there were tappers, and paper crinklers, you name it…no matter what sound caused that sensation in your head…there was someone out there willing to help make it happen.
It was around this time that I started asking people if they felt it too…I’ve never had an original experience in my life so I was pretty positive that everyone else got the “head tingles” too….WRONG! People looked at me like I was crazy! Oh they understood about relaxation and meditation, and camping the body…but internal tingles?? That was another story entirely. Finally, I decided to write an article about it. I’ve learned that if you want to find people with a shared experience…it’s best just to put it out there. So I did. What I wasn’t expecting was for an acquisitions editor from a famous publisher to discover that she too experienced the same “ASMR” feeling. We talked about the fact that there has been little research into the field and no books written on the subject. I told her my whole story and said, “I think it has been written about, talked about,etc…but no one knew what to call it and simply referred to it as relaxing.”
Because she is a wonderful person, she encouraged me to explore just ow much could be written about this phenomenon that has really only come into prominence over the last two years. It has been featured on Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Inside Edition, the O Magazine, and World News Tonight…a Darmout student recently conducted an ASMR study, but his findings have not been published yet and there is still speculation as to whether or not, it’s a “real” thing.
I maintain it is…I feel it. I experience it and I have for a very long period of time. Now, I am writing an entire book about it (along with one of the premier ASMRtists on YouTube Water Whispers Ilse!) I am currently looking for ASMR experiencers and ASMR content creators to interview and would love to include your stories. please feel free to reply to this post or to send me a PM on Facebook. More to come on this exciting topic that will be featured on this blog every Tuesday!!!
Until next time, keep Rockin’
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