Menu

What The Hell is ASMR?! Brain Tingles Explained!

8 min read

Last Updated on

Trouble sleeping at night?

Have you ever heard of ASMR?

That stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Also (charmingly) known as a “brain tingle”.

I was introduced to ASMR by a friend years ago, and since I knew it worked for him, I jumped on the bandwagon too!

According to Wikipedia, it’s a

“tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine [caused by certain sounds].”

There typically needs to be a trigger or stimuli in order for the tingling to start.

These triggers can come from whispers or softly talking to mundane sounds like tapping or turning a page.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of scientific evidence surrounding this topic (there are only a handful of studies so far!).

It’s hard to measure and not everyone experiences the sensation. 

Some of the authorities have equated it to the pleasure derived from getting your ears cleaned or primates grooming each other.

Kind of kooky, right?

I know, I was skeptical at first too. 

Watch some of the most popular ASMR videos below to see if you get the tingle!

Popular ASMR

ASMR offers several genres for you to explore with each one being popular for a unique trigger.

For example, some people watch ASMR for sleeping or relaxing, helping them study, and some do it purely for entertainment (like me!).

According to Psychology Today, many people with depression, insomnia, and chronic pain watch ASMR videos. 

So let’s find out which ones are the most popular today!

Top YouTube ASMRists

Depending on the experience and skill level of the ASMRtist, you either feel the relaxing brain tingle or just wasted your time.

If you’re an ASMR veteran, then you’ve probably heard of these 3 ladies before.

If not, then I’d suggest you start off watching the 3 most popular ASMRists on YouTube!

The Gentle Whisperer

Also known as ‘Gentle Whispering’, this Russian ASMR YouTuber’s real name is Maria Viktorovna.

Maria was born on July 22nd, 1986, making her 33 years old in 2019.

She moved to the US in 2006, started her channel in 2011 and grew her subscribers to over 1.7 million.

Check her out below to see if you like her style.

Gibi ASMR

Gibi ASMR is a popular American ASMR YouTuber with over 2.1 million subscribers as of July 2019.

She hasn’t disclosed her real name for obvious privacy reasons, but we know that she was born on December 19th 1994, making her just 24 years old.

Her rise to fame on began in 2016, when she first started to create ASMR videos on YouTube.

Here is her most popular video – it’s been watched an astonishing 13.3 million times.

ASMR Darling

Taylor Darling runs ASMR Darling since 2016. This American ASMRist was born on May 14th, 1997 (22 years old in 2019) and has over 2.3 million subscribers to date.

She tried to keep her identity private as she has been the victim of stalking and doxing, but that’s hard to do when you are famous on the net!

Check out her videos here:

NSFW ASMR

NSFW stands for Not Safe For Work, as in it features adult content. 

As you can guess, it’s one of the most popular categories. 

A lot of ASMRtists incorporate nudity through a series of role-playing stories and trigger sensations using body gestures and sounds.

You’re likely to find it arousing as both sex and ASMR are intimate things. 

Here are some popular NSFW Channels:

Olivia Kissper ASMR

A famous ASMRtists from Czech Republic who often talks about the relation between ASMR and sexual arousal.

She has majored in psychology and consciousness studies.

Her videos can be helpful if you want to learn more about the subject.

Amouranth ASMR 

This channel features a beautiful woman involved in role-playing.

The videos show portrayals of sexy characters.

Male audiences seem to be the target of this channel.

Unintentional ASMR

Typically, ASMRtists consciously speak in soft tones and act gently, whereas it’s entirely accidental with unintentional ASMR. 

Some may be triggered by the sound of an object, while a random act like cleaning or painting does it for others.

It’s uniquely based on the person.

Baba Sen

An Indian YouTuber, famous for his head massage videos. He died of a heart attack in 2018, but his videos are still popular.

Bob Ross

A famous painter, whose videos became unintentional ASMR, also passed away.

His YouTube channel features a lot of videos of him painting and narrating what he’s doing.

ASMR or not, I love how he makes painting look so easy!

Pure Unintentional ASMR by INeedToSleepNow 

This channel contains old interviews of well-known personalities.

The soft tone of these people induces a relaxing state.

ASMR Massage

This ASMR category shows people getting massaged and also features role-play massage.  

It is unconventional and experimental, but usually features relaxing background music and target specific areas like your head, earlobes, and shoulders in a rhythmic pattern.

MassageASMR

Dimitri from Australia is one of the most well-liked ASMRtist in this category.

His channel has one of the most extensive massage ASMR content on YouTube.

Most videos depict people receiving a massage from a therapist (himself!).

ASMR Anil Cakmak TV

Anil calls himself the ASMR Barber, because he actually works as a barber. Kind of like Baba Sen (but not really).

Many of his videos show him performing facial and head massages on his clients.

Celebrity ASMR

Hollywood Celebrities giving their best shot as ASMR.

Most videos are considered average as they aren’t experts.

Still, many people love to watch their favorite celebrities speak in a soft voice, open different plastic packets and chew on stuff.

W Magazine ASMR

This is the official YouTube channel of the fashion Magazine W.

It also has the most videos of Hollywood celebrities performing ASMR-inducing acts.

Here’s a compilation video of the best Celebrity ASMR.

SK-II #BareSkinChat

You may have been this one floating around already.

As an advertisement for SK-II skin care, James Corden and Chloe Moretz teamed up to do an ASMR comedy.

Slime ASMR

These videos feature a person playing with sticky, gooey slime.

Many Slime ASMRtists mix in other substances to create a crunching and popping sound.

Unfortunately, slime just doesn’t do it for me, but it may for you, so check it out!

AWESMR Slime 

With nearly 14 million subscribers, she’s famous for experimenting with slime by corporating things like foam, glitter, clay and balloons.

The Best Satisfying 

Kids love this channel!

With close to 3 million subscribers, most of the videos involve playing with slimy material like jelly and clay.

ASMR Ear Cleaning

Exactly what it sounds like.

This genre shows people checking, cleaning and playing with ears.

According to Mens Health, ears are an erogenous zone.

As a sensitive part of our body, let’s see if you can get an ‘eargasm’ from these videos!

Rapunzel ASMR 

One of the biggest YouTube channels for ASMR ear cleaning – about half a million subscribers. Run by Ann from Belgium, she has a twin sister who also appears in the videos!

Poki ASMR

Poki been posting a variety ASMR videos for 5+ years now, but her ear play videos are more popular – some have been watched more than 6.2 million times!

TingTing ASMR 

TingTing has only been doing ASMR for 2 years but she already gained a huge following.

She also does a variety of different ASMR triggers, but her Chinese-style ear cleaning videos are still a favorite among fans.

Japanese ASMR

I think we all know someone who is obsessed with Japanese culture and language.

It’s no surprise that thousands of people follow Japanese ASMR.

Followers may not know a single word in this language, yet it doesn’t matter.  You just need to watch and listen.

Who knows, you may pick up a phrase or two!

Hatomugi ASMR 

One of the most popular Japanese ASMR YouTube channel, though Hatomugi hid the number of subscribers on her channel.

However, each video gets hundreds of thousands of views.

Here’s a popular ASMR Triggers For Sleep & Relaxing video with over 2.6 millions views.

Latte ASMR 

Since January 2016, this ASMRist built a following of 860K people.

Interestingly enough, she speaks Japanese, Korean and English, so she makes different videos in these languages.

ASMR FAQs

Head massageCommon ASMR triggers are:

  • Whispering and humming
  • Crisp sounds (Eg. Page-turning, plastic crinkling and rustling leaves)
  • Tapping
  • Light physical touch on Skin
  • Watching slow and precise movements
  • Seeing someone smiling or hearing laughter
  • Role-play
  • Eating
  • Massaging 

A growing number of people feel ASMR from watching personal attention videos.

These videos depict the presenter showing particular attention to the viewer.

ASMR activates certain areas of the brain. This also explains the tingling sensation.

In 2018, researchers conducted the first AMSR study.

They used Functional Magentic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to confirm brain activity.

These regions of the brain are responsible for self-awareness and social behaviors – like showing concern and empathy.

They also found that the brain release neurochemicals, like Oxytocin, Dopamine, and Endorphins, that makes you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Further confirming the 2018 study, this 2015 study says ASMR creates a flow-like mental state.

The tingling effect originates from the brain and spreads through the entire body.

The intensity differs from person to person.

ASMR is not dangerous from what we know of it today.

Researchers are only scratching the surface of ASMR. Further studies are needed to explore the possible dangers of ASMR.

One possibility that I can think of is that because it feels so good, people may get addicted.

But that can be said of just about anything.

So, don’t worry and just enjoy!

Very popular in South Korea, ASMR Mukbang is watching people eat large quantities in silence.

The sound of the food or of them chewing acts as triggers.

‘Mukbang’ is actually a made-up word. It’s a fusion of 2 Korean words – ‘meokneun’ means ‘eating’ and ‘bangsong’ means ‘broadcast’. So, you’re broadcasting someone (usually yourself) eating.

You’ll see people eat chips, fried chicken potato or other food that make sounds while chewing.

AMSR Mukbang isn’t for everyone. I’m not a huge fan – the chew sounds don’t trigger me (too loud) and I find watching someone eat kind of gross.

Check out Zach Choi’s Channel to see if it works for you!

Yes, you can get ASMR trigger from touch.

Many ASMR videos show some form of simulated touching. These videos include:

  • doing your hair and makeup
  • going to the spa for a facial
  • cleaning your ears
  • giving a massage
  • giving you a medical check-up

Jennifer Allen came up with the term ASMR in 2010, but it didn’t trend on Youtube until 2013.

She experienced pleasant sensations since her childhood. But she could not find a specific terminology to describe her experiences.

Jennifer started a Facebook group for people to share their ASMR experiences, and so a community was born.

Interestingly enough, the very first intentional ASMR video was uploaded on YouTube by Whispering Life the year before, in 2009.

The owner of this channel is a girl who has kept her name private to date. We do know that she has a Bachelor of Science degree in Ophthalmic.

Proven by a 2018 study, ASMR activates parts of the brain to release Oxytocin, Dopamine, and Endorphins. These neurohormones are responsible for inducing sleep and relaxation.

Researchers of a 2015 study found that 82% of participants said ASMR helps them sleep and 70% agreed they use it to deal with stress. The conclusion of the study was that an ASMR experience is comparable to being in the state of ‘flow.’

People in flow are able to intensely focus on the task at hand and are oblivious to the amount of time that passes, which includes studying. Just don’t fall asleep instead.

Yes, you’re supposed to listen to ASMR with headphones on, so you can get its full effect.

It’ll also help you avoid distractions, then you can experience every sound.

You can still get the tingles without headphones, but it probably won’t be as intense.

Many use binaural headphones. These headsets can drown out the noise from the outside environment and provide a deeper sound which enhances the ASMR experience.

ASMR and Hypnosis have a lot of similarities. ASMR can be a form of hypnosis induction.

ASMR is a lower-level state of relaxation. While people under hypnosis are in a deeper state of relaxation.

Role-playing and personal attention ASMR videos can simulate hypnosis.

These videos show the ASMRists paying close personal attention to the viewer and some people can be very receptive to the suggestions of the ASMRist.

Craig Richard, an ASMR researcher, estimates that about 20% of the total population experience strong tingles, while another 20% only has a mild reaction.

But this is inconclusive and needs further investigation.

We’re all different, so not everyone gets the brain tingle. Some people are even annoyed by ASMR!

The only way to find out is to watch a video.

Next time when you find yourself reaching for melatonin pills, try watching ASMR videos instead!

Let me know if you get the tingles 🙂

>> Knowledge is power! Keep learning deep sleep secrets to get the best night’s rest you possibly can! <<

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Comment