Ever since I was young I can remember feeling a warm tingling sensation every time I heard someone whispering or eating food. During summer school, I was in the classroom reading during my lunch break and there was a girl behind me eating potato chips. I felt my whole body tingling from head to toe, and felt like falling into a deep sleep. I never get tingly when I am hearing myself eat, but I get that warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I hear other people eating. In the library in college, I again got those tingles when I heard a student whispering the words they were studying for a foreign language exam. It put me at ease and made my morning feel that much better.
Before I heard of ASMR (an acronym for autonomous sensory meridian response) I thought I was the only one who felt calm whenever people ate food or talked in soft and soothing voices. But on YouTube there’s a whole community of ASMR folks and so I feel less alone because I know I’m not the only one experiencing it.
These videos on Youtube feature people eating, whispering or making other noises that elicit tingles in the viewer. While researchers are still trying to figure out what exactly in our brains triggers this kind of reaction, they have found that these videos particularly help people who have panic attacks, depression and insomnia. I know that these videos so far have been helpful in calming me down. Experiencing ASMR is very much like having a mental illness or synesthesia; it’s subjective and can’t exactly be measured quantitatively because it’s based on how we experience and see the world in our own individual way.
I think it’s also a gratifying experience for the person doing the ASMR video because they get to savor their food while looking into the camera and feel these tingly sensations themselves when they press into slime or a pillow. There’s something so aesthetically pleasing and, well, sensual about ASMR videos that it’s hard to explain other than the warm and fuzzy feeling.
It would be nice if I could do an ASMR video such as reading children’s books. Here’s a great Guardian article I read that tells more about ASMR.