ASMR - The Complete Guide

ASMR is very popular right now but what is ASMR, who is it for and how can you try it. Don’t worry I’ve got all the details you’ll ever need in this piece that comprehensively covers ASMR, the myriad of health benefits it offers and where to get started. Stay tuned folks!

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What is ASMR?

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and simply put it is the sensation of relaxation and euphoria that comes from hearing certain sounds. The sounds that create ASMR are wide ranging and may be different for everyone. Popular ASMR triggers are people whispering, the sound of fingers bristling over an object or even someone just brushing their hair. But don’t worry I’ll cover the triggers in more detail later.

The first thing to know about ASMR is that not everyone reacts to it. So whilst for me it creates a body tingling sensation and a deep relaxation, for others it may not. ASMR can be helpful for people who have trouble sleeping, those who are stressed or anxious and it is even said to be helpful for people suffering with depression. 

ASMR can be experienced through watching the 1000’s of YouTube videos specifically created for this purpose and for some even thinking about the sounds themselves. There are also many phone apps with libraries of ASMR sounds. 

ASMR Youtubers

With so much choice of ASMR YouTubers it can be challenging to find the one that is best for you. Since, different people have different triggers the channel that is perfect for me may not be good for you. But in this section I will cover some of the most popular to help you find the channels and triggers that give you that tingling feeling.

ASMR Darling has over 2.4m subscribers and defines ASMR as ‘a term used for an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.’ 

ASMR videos are meant to trigger the amazing 'tingly' feeling to help you sleep. Or just to help you simply relax and fall asleep! sleep sleep sleep..

Her Main ASMR Triggers: Ear to Ear Whisper, Tapping, Scratching, Affirmations, Compliments, Roleplay, Hair Play, Hair Brushing, Personal Attention, Close up, Words, Face touching, Camera touching, Microphone brushing. ASMR Darling on YouTube

Gibi ASMR has over 2.5m subscribers and describes her channel as ‘I have been watching ASMR videos by accident since I realized that some sounds and movements made me feel blissfully relaxed. I've watched the ASMR community grow into something incredible, and I decided that I wanted to hop in and be a part of it! You will see a variety of videos from me, from roleplays, to makeup, to cosplay, to original characters! I hope you very much enjoy.’ Gibi ASMR on YouTube

Gentle Whispering has over 1.8m subscribers. She describes her channel as ‘In this world of stress and chaos I wish my channel to be your secret island of relaxation and peace. I'm here to comfort you, to share my love and care with you, to make you feel relaxed and stress free through creative and soothing videos. Let me try and keep you company at hard times, let me calm you down and help you sleep on restless nights, let me be your friend and be a trigger for your tingles ( ASMR ) or simply help you find beauty and peace in places you might have never thought of looking.’ Gentle Whispering on YouTube

South Korean ASMR Youtuber Latte ASMR Latte has over 1.1m subscribers and her vidoes cover triggers including makeup application, medical examination roleplays, ear cleaning, whispering and more. ‘Latte ASMR on YouTube

What is the point of ASMR?

As I mentioned earlier the effectiveness of ASMR varies from person to person, it may actually be the majority of people get no effect at all but when it does work it is wonderful. As it is such a new phenomenon very little research on the topic exists.

People’s experiences can even be altered by the time of day or their current mood. One day you may be sensitive to whispering and the next to hair brushing. It really does depend on lots of factors.

Watching the same trigger over and over can also lessen its effects. All the information I have is based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific testing. Hopefully, as it becomes more popular, more studies will delve into why ASMR works. What we do know is that certain people's body's respond physically to ASMR and others don't but we don't know why this is.

How do you know if you have ASMR?

Do you get a physical sensation when hearing certain sounds? Many people who have ASMR have been getting that sensation since their childhood years. Maybe you got tingles and goosebumps when someone touched your skin? For a long time many people experienced the tingling feeling when hearing certain sounds but until recently there wasn't a term to describe this. It is equally possible that you have ASMR but don't recall any instances of it from childhood. That was me. I only realised the effect it had on me once I stumbled across ASMR videos on YouTube.

Viewers aren't tuning into these videos for their visual content. Rather, the millions of hits are attributed to the videos' ability to stimulate something called autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR.

Michelob Ultra used the tactic in the Super Bowl to stand out with a message about its organic brew, Pure Gold, with actress Zoe Kravitz starring in the 45-second ad to show how it is different.

ASMR is the physical tingling sensation some people feel when they hear soft, repetitive sounds. Everything from the sound of pages being slowly turned in a book to the act of chewing gum to the opening of a bag of chips can trigger the response.  

A 2015 study on the effects of ASMR reported that 75 percent of participants felt a tingling when they heard people whispering. Some 64 percent felt the sensation when they heard "crisp sounds," such as fingernails tapping on a metallic surface.

Despite the apparent popularity of ASMR-triggering videos, the phenomenon was first documented only eight years ago by a cybersecurity professional named Jennifer Allen. Allen initiated the first major public discussion of ASMR in 2009 and coined the term for the phenomenon the following year. Initially, though, interest in the topic was confined to a small group of people. 

It's unclear exactly when awareness of ASMR went mainstream, but in recent years the topic has inundated the internet and popular culture. Brands are starting to see the lure of ASMR too with Dove and IKEA both running ASMR adverts.

Is ASMR a kink

There is a misconception by many, that ASMR is in some way sexual. It is easy to understand as the feeling you get from ASMR is similar to the feeling you get during sex. Whispering in the ear or the feeling of being given personal attention is often seen as being sexual. Whilst some people may get sexual feelings from ASMR, for most it isn't a kink.

Does ASMR work on everyone?

As ASMR hasn't been the subject of any peer-reviewed scientific testing, it is impossible to know what percentage of the general population that can experience ASMR. For some people there is an immediate and visceral reaction to ASMR and others may not experience anything at all. There's evidence to suggest that not everyone's biology reacts to it.

Whilst almost everyone produces endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin, the things that trigger the production of these can vary from person to person. This could be because of genetics, differing biology or even environment and personal experience.

The euphoric feeling that many get from ASMR may only occur when subjected to certain stimuli so the key is to experiment with different stimuli to find the one that works for you. There may be many that work or there may be none.Some people may need the physical connection rather than just the auditory one. People that usually create high amounts of endorphins easily may be more likely to experience ASMR.

What are the best ASMR triggers

ASMR triggers vary from person to person. Triggers can greatly vary and not every trigger works for every person. Hopefully, in this section I'll help you find the trigger that works for you.

ASMR trigger: a sound or stimuli that triggers an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in you.

To get the most out of ASMR, ensure you wear headphones when listening to or watching videos.

ASMR trigger list


One of the most common ASMR sounds and the one I personally get the most reaction from. Whispering is also binaural which means it has two distinct channels, sounds in your left area and sounds in your right. In ASMR whispering can take many forms - sometimes it is inaudible or unclear, sometimes it's personal attention themed and sometimes it is role-playing.

I find whispering to be the best trigger for helping you sleep.

Personal attention

The Personal attention trigger can creates an intensely personal connection between you and the person in the video/audio. There is something emotionally endearing about personal connection triggers. The focus is on you and for many feeling like you're the centre of attention is what makes this trigger work.

Ear brushing

It might sound strange but there is something soothing about this particular trigger. It links in well with the personal attention trigger above.

Hair play

Generally hair play videos are created by women. These women usually have long hair and they speak in soft, soothing tones.

Visual ASMR

Whilst not generally audio based. Visual ASMR tends to include a variety of hand movements. This isn't one I generally react to but it works for some.

Turning pages of a book

This one is common but the crinkling sounds associated with turning pages of a book triggers quite a lot of people.

Mouth sounds

This one can be strange to some. It is a little like marmite - you either love or hate it. Mouth sounds can be disgusting to some but others love it. The sounds in this trigger usually include eating, kissing and other mouth sounds.

Hey there

I'm Adelaise. Ethically Living is a modern lifestyle site for the modern vegan. Here you'll find tasty and easy vegan recipes, sustainability tips, travel guides and cruelty-free beauty. Enjoy and stay a while.

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