Exploring the ASMR Phenomenon

“Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

This is a post I started and subsequently deleted when I had just started my blog (way back in the fall of 2019), but I finally feel I was informed enough and inspired enough to write a whole post about this topic. The topic in question is a type of content that has exploded in popularity in the last ten years: ASMR. If you use YouTube somewhat regularly or at all, you have probably been recommended a video with a title resembling something along the lines of “Personal Assistant Gets You Ready For Your Day (Soft Spoken ASMR)” or “3 Hour Tapping ASMR (No Talking) TINGLES GUARANTEED!” and other variations of these kinds of titles. The thumbnail generally consists of a close-up shot of a microphone and a person’s face hovering extremely close to the camera, which, I admit, can be a bit odd to someone not already familiar with ASMR. So now that we have established how ASMR is presented, it is time to dive in: what exactly is ASMR?

ASMR Definition and Background

According to the Merrian-Webster website “ASMR stands for “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.” It typically refers to the “tingly feeling” that travels from the head downward that some experience in response to certain sounds, feelings, or descriptions. These can include soft whispering, crinkling paper, or a gentle touch.”

There is no actual “inventor” of ASMR, and the idea of soothing sounds and pleasing visuals has existed for as long as people have been stressed out and seeking something to watch or listen to mindlessly. I feel like ASMR is popular because we are still all children at heart and can still be fascinated by pretty colors and exciting noises – something we would not care to admit to others or do in public. This might be why many people feel embarrassed that they consume ASMR content regularly or at all; they think it makes them childish or weird.

ASMR Terminology

So within the ASMR community, some terminology and phrases are thrown around quite regularly that really might not make any sense to people who aren’t familiar with ASMR. So let me give you a quick ASMR Vocabulary Rundown before continuing this post.

Tingles – this is probably one of the most-used words in ASMR, and while it sounds like it could mean something *ahem* not family-friendly, it is actually harmless. Tingles just refer to when a sound is so intense and crisp, that it sends a shiver up your spine or gives you goosebumps for a few seconds. This is seen as the goal for most ASMR videos and they will often feature the word in their video title.

Triggers – this term refers to the particular sound or kind of noise that “triggers” your tingles – most people have a wide variety of triggers that work for them or that they find soothing. Some people prefer talking, others prefer tapping or eating sounds. There is truly a trigger out there for everyone.

Role-Playing – NO, this is not the weird kind. For ASMR, role-play is a specific genre where the ASMRtist (aka the person or people making the video) assigns a role to themselves and one to you, as the audience, and acts out a certain scenario. These often fall along the lines of a doctor examining a patient, or a friend doing your makeup for a date, or my personal favorite, a personal assistant walking through a celebrity’s daily schedule. (Don’t judge me, it is fun to pretend to be a nepotism baby sometimes.)

ASMR’s “Benefits”

So now that we have covered what ASMR is and what some of the popular slang is, let’s talk about what benefits ASMR has. Unfortunately, there is not much research regarding the “health benefits” of ASMR consumption. However, it is one of those things like massages, skincare, and listening to classical music – it is enjoyable and relaxing, and being relaxed can be healthy for you, so things like ASMR are kind of healthy… indirectly.

I like to think of ASMR as a mental (free) spa trip at the end of the day to help unwind. It provides a positive, gentle source of stimuli to calm my overactive mind so I can slip off to sleep. Honestly, I think ASMR is a godsend for people with ADHD, as it slows down the brain just long enough for us to figure out that we are tired and need to go to sleep.

YouTube Channel Recommendations

This might be my favorite part of this blog post! With three years of ASMR consumption under my belt, I have discovered some of the hidden gems of the ASMR available on YouTube. If you would like to try experiencing ASMR for the first time or are just looking for a new channel to explore, try one of the ones I mention below.

Goodnight Moon ASMR

This channel is honestly one of my all-time favorites. Erin is such a sweet soul and puts so much effort and creativity into each and every one of her videos. My favorite series that she does is her Celebrity Personal Assistant series, it makes me feel so pampered and her commentary is hilarious.

ASMR Zeitgeist

This channel is perfect for people that do not want a lot of talking in their ASMR, as Michael’s videos consist mainly of a wide variety of differently themed triggers, like water-themed, gold-themed, or color-themed. In addition, these videos are perfect for people who enjoy longer content. His videos run longer than most, ranging from an hour to two and a half hours, and have no ads in the video, so there is no random increase in volume during the viewing experience.


If you are bored with traditional triggers in your ASMR videos, check out this channel. Rappeler creates “tingle machines” from scratch, inserting microphones into blocks of foam, soap, or sponges manipulating the material in ways that you would never expect to sound soothing but somehow do. She also has various other kinds of videos on her channel, like eating and roleplaying ASMRs.

Other honorable mentions: ASMR Haven, Latte ASMR, ASMR Bakery, and Tingting ASMR.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Please like, comment, and subscribe if you connected with my post and if would like to see more of my crazy, exciting journey through life with Christ and mental illnesses. Every interaction I receive here means a lot. Thank you and God bless you.

Until next time!

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