Do some sounds give you tingles or maybe full-blown “head orgasms”? Maybe you love listening to the turning of book pages and get a hit of euphoria when you fold towels? You may be experiencing a phenomenon called ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
Yes, there is such a thing. Some people have very particular auditory or visual triggers that may cause them to have waves of very positive feelings and sensations of static-like tingling on their skin. ASMR can also help with insomnia, according to the millions who claim to feel it.
The subculture is growing in popularity, with YouTube stars like the ASMRtistMaria garnering 1.3 million subscribers and 463 million views for videos where she gently whispers, taps on things and tries on prom dresses just for the sounds of it.
Here’s a “classic” video of Maria’s that has almost 20 million views:
As she says in the description of her channel, Maria’s mission “in this world of stress and chaos” is to provide a “secret island of relaxation and peace.” She is there to comfort you and relax you through soothing videos. She is also aware that she will be a “trigger for your tingles.”
Sounds like the crinkling of paper, brushing hair, soft tapping, classical music or even the voice of the painter Bob Ross can be other most common triggers of ASMR.
While there is still little science on the phenomenon which has been compared to auditory-tactile synesthesia, the ASMR Research Project hopes to shed more light on what is actually happening by running an online survey. The research team includes Craig Richard, a professor at Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy, psychology grad student Karissa Burnett andJennifer Allen, a cybersecurity professional who coined the term ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’.
Had enough of this article and want to try going to sleep? Check out these triggers:
In an interesting twist on the subject, some have noticed a connection between ASMR and religion. Are there ASMR elements to religious rituals? As the author of the science and theology blog ‘Irreducible Complexity writes, certain features of religious ceremonies like laying of the hands, anointing with oil, or deliberately slow communion preparations have been reported to trigger ASMR responses.
People who have experienced religious euphoria describe “electric tingling” and other tingling sensations during certain moments when they felt most connected to what they perceived as the Holy Spirit.
Others have spoken of forehead tingling as an indication of a “spiritual awakening” caused by the opening of the “crown chakra”.
Whether you believe in the reality of ASMR most likely depends on whether you think you have experienced it.
Here’s some very soothing Bob Ross to test you: