On a boring and lonely Tuesday night when every corner of the internet had been clicked, I stumbled across something rather different. A YouTube video with over 15 million views by ASMR artist Gentle Whisperings who began to very, very quietly tell me that this video was ‘dedicated to my relaxation’. How strange, I thought, trying to work out whether she was whispering or if my volume was very low but my curiosity and full volume just had to carry on watching to see what this was about.
The purpose of the video was, as said, ‘to help me fall asleep faster’ and ‘make me feel more relaxed’. Maria, the ASMR artist behind the channel, spent sixteen minutes and twenty-one seconds tapping on a hairbrush, blowing a candle at me, pretending to give me a shoulder/ back massage and tickling me with a massive feather. Was this supposed to make me feel anything other than really confused? Well, as it happens, it should.
ASMR, for the small minority who experience it, say they find it difficult to explain to people that don’t experience anything at all. The ASMR artists in their videos create ‘tingles’ by tapping with their nails onto surfaces or objects, whispering or even stroking the camera pretending it’s your face. These ‘triggers’ create the tingles that can occur in the head, neck or spine making you feel very relaxed, supposedly helping with anxiety, stress and sleeplessness.
ASMR, an initialism for Autonomous Sensory Meridian is becoming an internet phenomenon. With over a million videos coming up when typed into YouTube. Videos range from Hairdressing and Dentist roleplays with the strangest one coming from Youtuber, ‘Rickey7Whispers’ who plays as your boyfriend pretending to kiss your neck and stomach. Who on Earth would watch that? Well it’s racked up 325k views in just one month. There is even a ten-hour long video by ‘MassageASMR’ devoted to tapping, crinkling and ‘trigger’ sounds. A video completely without any words.
Although it sounds very scientific there is no ground evidence for why some people experience these ‘tingles’ and others do not. The closest thing that anyone can compare it to is when someone gets goose bumps when listening to a certain song, for example.
Some think it is crazy, even thinking it’s borderline sexual. However, even though it doesn’t work for me, it’s clear to see that it works for a lot of people as it is becoming more and more popular with the number of YouTube channels dedicated to ASMR growing larger and larger.
Does ASMR work for you? Do you experience the tingles? Or is a video pretending to have someone clean out your ears, a little too much?