The Captivating World of ASMR

First of all ASMR, is an acronym that stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response which refers to a pleasant tingling sensation accompanied by positive and euphoric feelings triggered by visual or auditory stimuli. At the back of the head is where it usually starts, to then go down through the spine into the limbs, relaxing you.

The people who experience ASMR are known as ASMRers, and their response can vary depending on each trigger. People who make these videos are known as ASMRtists, and they are mostly young women. They make videos of themselves doing many things to create the triggers, from whispering to tapping, and using props.

How does it work?

There is no scientific proof behind ASMR. Some people say that everybody is capable of experiencing it if they find the right trigger. Others argue that either you feel it or you do not. However, there are some people who think that ASMR is not about feelings but it is rather a spectrum. As the scientific understanding is nonexistent because of the lack of research about it, people’s understanding is based on their own experience with ASMR shared on the internet.

For example, according to Maria, a very popular ASMRtist, the way ASMR manifests in everybody is different. She says that there are two types, Type A and Type B. People in Type A are said to be able to cause the effects of ASMR by just thinking about a trigger or meditating. On the other hand,  Type B people need to actually experience the trigger.

But there are still theories of how ASMR might work.

When was ASMR discovered?

The name given to a pleasant tingling sensation accompanied by positive and euphoric feelings triggered by stimuli was made up in 2010 by Jennifer Allen. According to an interview from last year, she first experienced ASMR before she had the words to describe the feeling, and had no idea if other people felt the sensation.

In 2009, Jennifer needed proof that she was not alone, so she searched on the internet for “WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD”. She found a forum where people compared experiences and searched for answers. Many were using the term Attention Induced Head Orgasm (AIHO) as an early name for ASMR.  

Allen then named the term Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, partly because of its lack of sexual connotation. She wanted to avoid the word “orgasm,” choosing the word “meridian” instead.

Why is it so popular?

ASMR has grown since 2010 when Jennifer Allen gave it a name. Giving it a name helped people to find it, introducing ASMR to a bigger public. In addition, Jennifer Allen created a Facebook page and ASMR even appears in Wikipedia. As the term began gaining popularity, social media began to take notice. There have been publications about ASMR done by The Atlantic, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Nowadays it has gained a lot of popularity, making this large community grow every single day. The most popular ASMRtist is Maria, a.k.a. Gentle Whispering. In 2012 her channel had 34 thousand subscribers and nearly 12 million views. Up to date, she has about 1.3 million subscribers and almost half a billion view.

Maria said in her interview with The Washington Post that “she’s not after exposure or money” that “videos by other ASMRtists once helped her through a period of depression, and now she wants to pay it forward.“ In other words, ASMR videos can be comforting not just for the people watching the videos (ASRMers), but creators (ASMRtists) as well. They feel that they are helping others improve their lifestyle. Perhaps the increasing growth of this big community speaks to a mutual human desire to connect emotionally, and nothing more.

What are some examples of ASMR videos?

What is the future of this community?

Advances in technology and certain trends can give us an idea where the community is headed.

Examples:

  • Virtual Reality. There are ASMRtists that create 360-degree videos with binaural audio, (recorded with two microphones for it to be 3D); investing in a VR headset to get the full experience is recommended.
  • 24/7. It is an ASMR that last all day. These types of videos have another objective other than to cause ASMR, and it is to aid viewers in sleep. In addition, viewers don’t have to stop and start the recordings; they just open the video and let it play.
  • Online experiences in real life. There is an ASMR spa that opened in 2016.

Featured Image: Daniela Cavero

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