ASMR 101

If you’re on TikTok, we’re betting you’ve stumbled upon a video of someone whispering or touching random things in a quiet, controlled, relaxing way. These videos, which are said to trigger a phenomenon known as ASMR, have carved out an entire section of the internet. Let’s discuss!

What Is ASMR?

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, described as “the experience of tingling sensations in the crown of the head in response to a range of audio-visual triggers.” But if we had to describe it ourselves, we would say it falls somewhere between comfort, relaxation, and goosebumps all rolled up into one sensation.

The inability to describe ASMR and why it makes some people feel a certain way leads many to be skeptical about its effects. In fact, early studies have concluded that not everyone can experience these sensations, which leaves them beyond confused.

What Triggers ASMR?

ASMR can be triggered by whispering or any of the following:

  • Tapping and/or typing
  • Humming
  • Chewing
  • Turning a page or folding paper
  • Squishing sounds
  • Applying makeup to face
  • Spraying a water bottle
  • Hair brushing

Potential Benefits

This is another area that still requires more research, but studies have found that ASMR videos could have health benefits such as:

  • Inducing sleep and relaxation. ASMR makes people focus only on what they are hearing. Paired with dark rooms or low lighting, these videos create major “You’re getting very sleepy” vibes.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety. Because ASMR makes people focus on what’s in front of them, they tend to stop worrying. Instead, their focus is on the noises.
  • Reducing depression. The soothing sounds are said to ease depression symptoms.
  • Increasing focus. Similar to white noise, ASMR is made up of simple noises that aren’t too distracting, which can help you get things done.

Where to Watch ASMR

There are many creators on TikTok that make ASMR videos. Our favorites include @lindseyeatsla, who combines ASMR and cooking, and @emilymariko, who combines ASMR with daily things like grocery store trips.

If you’re new to ASMR, we recommend watching some ASMR compilations to determine which type suits you best.

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