What is ASMR in the world and why do so many people love it?

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There are over 5 million ASMR videos on YouTube, according to Think with Google. What might have seemed like a temporary trend has become a booming industry and enjoyable activity that is likely to stay.

So what is ASMR? ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. That’s the fancy word for an experience you’ve probably had many times. Most describe it as a tingling sensation that begins at the top of the head and travels down the back, creating a relaxing sensation comparable to a mild form of euphoria. You may have experienced this in childhood games, like the classic “spiders crawling on your back” where friends performed slight movements on your back and head. Somewhere along the line, online content creators realized that people were looking for that feeling so badly that there was money to be made. And the world of ASMR content was born. Here’s a look at this popular trend and all it entails.

Different types of ASMR

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ASMR has become primarily associated with sounds, but it can actually include a visual and even tactile element. A special type of ASMR touch is called effleurage, which is described by oxford dictionary as “A form of massage involving a circular stroking motion performed with the palm of the hand.” But, when it comes to the world of online ASMR content, the tactile element will have to be self-provided.

What you can find online are audio and video files with some of the most popular ASMR sounds and images known to create that soothing, tingling sensation. These are generally neutral, familiar everyday sounds and images. Some of the most popular audio sounds include:

  • scratch
  • Blow
  • Page turning
  • Whisper
  • crumpling
  • Chewing
  • Water drops
  • A ticking clock
  • buzz
  • A purring engine

Visual ASMR is also popular. It may accompany audio files and may not. Some popular ASMR images include:

  • The paint mix
  • Gentle hand movements
  • hair brushing
  • A chewing mouth
  • Cut hair
  • Rain splashing on a surface

The key to ASMR – at least for relaxation – is that sounds and visuals are neutral. They do not arouse any intense emotions such as excitement or fear, so they put the mind in a relaxed state.

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