Maybe I’ve been living under the rock, but I learned only recently about the phenomenon of ASMR. Have you tried it before? Does it work for you?

If you have no freaking clue what ASMR is, keep reading! Because apparently millions of people enjoy listening to someone whispering while folding their towels on YouTube. And millions of people can’t be wrong, can they?

What's ASMR?

ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a pleasurable feeling that some people get as a response to soft, relaxing sounds. Many describe it as experiencing warm tingling sensations in the head & neck area. The triggering sounds could be stuff like whispers, murmurs, soft taps, scratching, turning magazine pages, and many, many more.

I quickly looked it up on YouTube & I’m amazed by the variety of sounds & experiences you can find there.

It seems a little bit creepy and silly. But it’s apparently super comforting and even therapeutic. People claim it helps them achieve a positive emotional state, zone out, deal with stress and fall asleep. Not bad for some stupid YouTube videos, right?

So I decided to try it for a week. There seem to be tons of material to choose from on YouTube & Spotify. So that’s where I started.

What I’ve learned from watching ASMR videos for a week

Let me start by saying that I discovered the whole new world of ASMR sounds. And here are my thoughts:

  • There are way more types of ASMR than I expected. I mean seriously! There are eating soundsslime soundssoap cutting sounds, paper scratchingtyping on different keyboards, tapping on pretty much anything you can imagine, even role-plays – just to name the few. Seriously there are tons of ASMR videos online. Some of them seem more like entertainment than therapy. But I guess it all evolves. I found this subredditto be the best source for quality ASMR videos. But a simple search on Youtube, Spotify, or even Instagram will get you started as well.
  • I didn’t get the tingles. Which seems to be the ultimate goal. However, I still find ASMR super relaxing & addictive. I could watch people playing with slime and cutting soap for hours. Or more realistically until my eyes close completely. So I totally get why they can cure insomnia. 
  • Not all the triggers are created equal. And (at least for me) it seems like some sounds are super pleasurable while some are profoundly annoying. I really like nature sounds, Mr. Rogers voice & “concentration on a task” kind of videos but all the eating, whispering and role-plays honestly make me feel uncomfortable. I guess I’m not the only one who doesn’t like it as some ASMR videos are specifically marked “NO TALKING.” So I guess everyone needs to find what works for them. 
  • ASMR is not only the NEW thing. Of course, there are tons of videos created in the last couple of years by so-called “ASMRtists” specifically to help viewers get the tingling sensations. They are concentrating on using common triggers & trigger words. And the creators of those videos go into great lengths to create amazing sounds. They use props & fancy recording devices. The sound in those videos is top notch! Seriously! Works best with headphones, obvi. But I didn’t use anything fancy, and still, there were times when I literally thought that my airpods battery died & the sound is coming from somewhere across the room. The experience is that good! However, there is also “Unintentional ASMR” meaning videos that were not explicitly created to trigger any reaction. They just happen to do so. Say what? Yep! Apparently, some celebrities have soothing voices that accidentally give people tingles, like Bob RossMr. Rogers, or Helen Mirren (seriously check them out!) And some tutorial videos seem to work like a charm as well.
  • It’s NOT all hype. There’s more and more research on the subject popping up to prove it’s not just some hippie nonsense. Researchers found out that ASMR videos can have a relaxing effect and significantly decrease heart rate. The effects were comparable to other stress-reduction techniques such as music and mindfulness practice. I’m excited to see more scientific evidence on ASMR in the future. Because there’s definitely something to it! 

Let’s wrap it up. Is ASMR worth it?

ASMR is way bigger than I expected. It’s a whole genre of sounds & videos. And despite the fact that not everybody gets tingles, it still is a quick and affordable way to relax. Which is not what I expected when starting this experiment. I thought ASMR is a bunch of fun videos that are pleasurable to watch. But it turns out they are really good for decreasing levels of stress. And stress is a huge factor in top leading causes of death and three-quarters of all doctor visits. So why not just go to Youtube and chose an ASMR video? It seems to be worth the trouble of listening to a couple of annoying eating sounds to find what works for you. Don’t you agree?

So will you give it a try?  Or maybe you’re already a fan?

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