So it turns out I have ASMR
The other day I was surfing facebook and someone posted a link to ASMR, the good feeling no one can explain.
I clicked it without knowing what it was about, but even after reading the very first sentence, I realized it was about me… At least sort of.
If, on the other hand, you’re one of the people the video was made for—one of those people who experience Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response—you’ll probably find all six minutes incredibly satisfying, the video equivalent of a really nice, mellow kind of drug that leaves no aftertaste.
There is nothing weirder than discovering that a small quirk you’ve lived with your whole life and never really thought a whole lot about, is:
- A scientific mystery, and
- A source for a budding internet community.
Fact: ASMR is weird.
I get it when certain people talk to me. Usually these are people who articulate their words carefully, are soft spoken, or are explaining something while using their hands on various inanimate objects. How creepy does that sound? Really creepy, right?
So obviously whenever I feel it, I purposely do things to break myself out of the trance, because ew, how rude of me to get weird brain tingles while a stranger is trying to talk to me.
I’ve also never told anyone about it, partially because I don’t think about it often, but also because AH! It’s CREEPY! As noted previously.
So to discover that people purposely make youtube videos to trigger ASMR…. Woah. I watched them. They’re addicting and amazing, but I still feel like a creep.
In case you were wondering, though, this one is my favourite:
A lot of people seem to happily embrace their ASMR and call it a gift. One woman posted that she feels sorry for those without it, because it’s such an amazing way to just unwind after a long day – watch a nonsensical video of a person talking to you in a whispery voice.
There’s little information on it online apart from a tightly woven network of websites; when someone created a Wikipedia page for it, it was promptly struck down by skeptical Wiki editors who said the article “lacked scientific evidence.”
ASMR is definitely a real thing, even if there’s no research to back it up. The fact that I immediately latched onto it and (somewhat guiltily) lapped up the videos is proof enough for me, but if it’s not for you there’s also the fact that some 25,000 people subscribe to the ASMR group on reddit.
Maybe some of them are weird voyeurs who just enjoy watching pretty girls on tape (who puts anything ‘on tape’ anymore? what is the modern version of saying ‘on tape’?), but I’m sure many of them are normal people who also happen to have ASMR.
Some things to note:
- It’s not sexual. It’s more warm and comforting, like having your mom brush your hair.
- You don’t have to be able to see the person’s face, although it can help. I watched a video of a person folding towels, and the whole time all you could see were her hands. And I still got ASMR from it.
- It starts at the top of your head and works its way down your entire body. Depending on the intensity, it can make it all the way down your legs, or it’ll just stop somewhere mid-back level.
I feel a little embarrassed posting about this, but my interest in the topic outweighs my sense of weirdness… And I’m curious where ASMR is going to go from here – just how widespread is it? And WHAT, exactly, is it?