I’ll never forget the first time I stumbled across an ASMR video.
I was 14 years old, on school holidays and bored out of my bloody brain. You know when you’re so bored that you start typing ‘help i’m bored‘ into Google? I was there.
Naturally, instead of going outside and finding a sociable activity to do, I found salvation in the never-ending carousel of entertainment that is YouTube. And, as anyone who spent the majority of their adolescence on a computer can attest, YouTube has a very special propensity for going from ‘Try Watching This Without Laughing Challenge’ to ’10 Reasons Why A Haiti-Bound Tupac Did 9/11′ real quick.
That’s how I came to find this video, by GentleWhisperingASMR:
Whispering in English and Russian and flipping through a magazine doesn’t sound like a barnstormer, but it changed things for me. Listening to this woman whisper sweet Russian nothings encouraged that same relaxed, tingling feeling I got when Mum would play with my hair. Or when my best friend in Primary School would draw letters on my back with a Derwent. Or when I’d watch someone painting.
Sure, something about listening into the multilingual whispering felt uniquely perverted, like making your Sims ‘WooHoo’ for hours on end. But it was just so mesmerising.
Describing ASMR to someone who doesn’t experience it is a little bit like trying to explain what water tastes like.
it tastes like… wet
The website theasmr.com explains it best:
It’s a physical tingling sensation that begins in your scalp and moves down through the spine to the limbs.
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.
Others call it Attention Induced Head Orgasm (AIHO), referring to the way the physical tingling begins in your scalp and moves its way down your limbs. But don’t let the word ‘orgasm’ trick you into thinking it’s at all sexual; it’s not. It’s more akin to meditation.
The best way to figure out if you’re capable of feeling ASMR is to experiment with it.
There are literally thousands of YouTube clips dedicated to the phenomena and it’s many glorious triggers – from whispering to hair brushing, tapping on a pleather bag with acrylics or lightly crinkling a bag of Light & Tangy – here are a few to get you started.
(Before the jump: for those of you who don’t experience it, the follow videos and podcasts are probably going to be the most mind-numbingly boring things you’ve ever witnessed.)
PEDESTRIAN.TV’S NEW ASMR PODCAST
Do you like what we did there?
The Pedestrian Podcast Network‘s latest show is a soothing, news-based ASMR podcast. Every week we whisper three of the top pop culture stories straight into your earholes. We might even be munching on some crisps while doing so.
Whispering is the gateway drug of the ASMR world. It’s not particularly weird and is therefore a good jump off point.
Why pay $90 for a full salon experience when you can cop the best bit (the scalp massage) for free?
It’s ASMR… But live!
Want to relax and simultaneously brush up on your Ziggy Stardust knowledge? Say no more.
This is a ripper example of a very specific ‘ambience’ category of ASMR. These are videos that create a sense of a room or situation. Other notable entries include YMCA but it sounds like it’s in another room and it has no music, Cersei’s Chamber at King’s Landing and Library Sounds (that supposedly helps you study).
TWIN EAR CLEANING
This is not an Austin Powers reboot.