The ASMR Phenomenon

by Bella Rum

I still wake in the wee hours of the morning a couple of times a week. I’m so lucky to have something to occupy my mind. I remember getting up to feed my son when he was a baby. There was nothing but the test signal on television to keep me company. Now I have a number of ways to spend my middle-of-the-night alone time. There’s never a minute in the day or night without access to television or the internet.

About ASMR

Now I have access to another form of escape when I wake long before dawn. My DIL recently told me about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). Are you familiar with it? I was not. Simply, it’s a series of sounds: scratching, crinkling, tapping, blowing, writing (usually with a pen), and moving paper. These sounds trigger the ASMR phenomenon. ASMR has been referred to as a brain orgasm, but it is not sexual. Many who listen to the videos feel a tingling sensation in the head or shoulders or face. It is extremely relaxing to some people and can induce sleep. That is my experience. There is much anecdotal evidence that this works, but there is little or no scientific research. My advice: If you have issues with insomnia or anxiety, try it, or if you simply want to relax. Decide for yourself. There are many videos on YouTube. Search ASMR, but remember to use earbuds. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a term used to describe a sensory experience characterized by a pleasant tingling sensation in the head and scalp, which can be triggered by sounds like whispering or brushing, and visual stimulus like painting or drawing. On YouTube, the phenomenon inspired the creation of “whisperer” videos, in which people attempt to trigger the viewer’s ASMR by speaking in a soft voice and making various sounds with inanimate objects. Source: Know Your Meme

Soon after my DIL introduced me to ASMR, I realized that I had experienced this sensation before. The most memorable occasion was when I watched artist Bob Ross on television. You may remember the guy with the afro and the encouraging, dulcet tones. He would complete an oil painting in a half hour. I could barely stay awake as he spoke comfortingly of Prussian blue, titanium white and Alizarin crimson. The scraping of his brushes and palette knife on his canvas were more relaxing than any sleeping potion. He died in 1995, but I recorded several of his shows a few years ago for middl-of-the-night listening. His voice did the same thing for me that ASMR videos do now.

I had things to say unrelated to ASMR, but it will wait for another day.

Remember… earbuds.

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