If you’ve ever had someone brush your hair and felt tingles down your scalp, that’s ASMR. It stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, but most just know it as tingles and a relaxed feeling. ASMR is usually triggered by stimuli such as whispering, crinkling, tapping, or “squishing” noises, personal attention, and mouth noises. (I find it strange that I usually find mouth noises very irritating, but relaxing in the context of an ASMR video.) There are many more triggers, and many YouTube videos dedicated to stimulating ASMR through these triggers. Whispering is the most common trigger, and before ASMR was well-known the videos were known as “whisper videos”. Today, ASMR is much less obscure, but the ASMR community is still known as being part of the “weird side of YouTube” and there continue to be misconceptions about the sensation. For example, the scalp tingles associated with ASMR are sometimes colloquially called a “head orgasm”, and many outside of the ASMR community falsely perceive the phenomenon as being sexual in nature.
Many people will point to Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting videos as their first experience with ASMR. It’s not hard to see why, with Bob Ross’s quiet, relaxing voice and the gentle sounds of the paintbrush on the canvas. I can’t pinpoint my first ASMR experience, but all my life I’ve found getting my hair brushed and played with to be very relaxing and tingle-inducing. Not everyone is able to experience ASMR, but even if they don’t feel tingles many people still find the videos very relaxing. However, with so many triggers, many people can find something that will give them tingles.
ASMR parody video by CollegeHumor: