I preface this article with, ASMR can go one of two ways for most people.
It can be the best, deepest feeling of relaxation you’ve ever felt and will help you get to sleep and clear your mind and feel amazing. Or, it can be the worst, most uncomfortable/creepy/laughable feeling you’ve ever felt and will make you cringe and feel confused about the state of the world and the human race in general. But, what’s life without a little risk. The one thing that is non-negotiable with ASMR, is that it requires an open mind. We’re in the future now. This is the sort of stuff we do.
What is it?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response which, in short, means deep relaxation. Some people describe it as a sort of tingling sensation that often starts at the scalp and neck and can move throughout the body. It can be euphoric and is probably the healthiest (no scientific backing here) high you can get. ASMR can be found on Youtube and Spotify. Generally ASMR activates 2 of our senses - sight and sound.
Sound is incredible. It can change the patterns of our thinking. It can even change our heart rate.
Sight is also incredible. ASMR is sort of like a virtual reality experience.
For example, if an ASMR video has someone walking on a beach or having their hair touched, it can feel like we are on the beach and our hair is being touched, too.
“Triggers” is a term thrown around a lot in ASMR world. Triggers are the sounds or visual stimuli that make you feel this deep sense of relaxation. Some common triggers include:
- Crisp Sounds. Fingernail tapping on hard objects, crinkling of paper, cutting paper with scissors, hands running over the bristles of a hairbrush, scratching hard surfaces, turning pages of a book.
- White Noise. Hum of an air conditioner, hair dryer, "shhhhh/shooshing" sounds.
- Hand Movements. Hands moving across the camera slowly from side to side, spirit finger/quick hand movement sort of visuals.
- Nature. This is classic relaxation world - some nice nature visuals with nature sounds. Simple and pure.
- Celebrity ASMR + Advertising. The likes of W Magazine, Fuse and a few other clever brands have jumped on board the trend. It’s an interesting way to conduct interviews, show a different side to high profile people and market a product. Generally, it also means that the content isn’t going to get too weird. The production quality is great and these are by far my favourite ones to watch for so down time.
- Mouth Sounds. Whispering, soft voices, certain words or mouth sounds, eating noises. Eating noises is a big NO from me. The sound of people eating loudly triggers my inner Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop. Remember this bit.....?
How to do it...
- First, open your mind to new experiences.
- Grab some earphones - this is essential. ASMR is often recorded using binaural microphones which means it picks up even the quietest of sound and splits the sound into left and right side. For example, if something is happening on the left side of the screen you will hear it in you left ear and vice versa. It can make you feel like you are actually "in the video".
- Jump on Youtube - I recommend the Freemahon channel (shameless plug). Click here.
- Try a few different styles of ASMR to see what you find relaxing. Personally, I don't get “tingles” but I get a deep, weightless and immediate feeling of relaxation. Like I have meditated for a week. It feels like that minute just before you fall asleep (most times I actually do).
When to do it.
I watch ASMR on Youtube occasionally at night to help me drift off to sleep. Since the accident, sleep has been so inconsistent for me so this helps slow things down and get all the factors that I can control, ready for rest. Watch Freemahon's first ASMR video on this website here or on Youtube here.
I also find ASMR really helpful when I need intense focus on a task like writing. I find it stops me from getting distracted and helps me immerse myself in the project at hand. Freemahon has a Work:Focus Required playlist on Spotify that has some 80's synth tracks from Stranger Things and some other relaxation sounds which you can access here.
There is also a little creepy side of ASMR that we need to address.
Essentially, this is the ASMR that consists of role playing (eeeek). In the early days of ASMR this was when “ASMR Artists” would replicate a relaxing experience. For example when you go to day spa and they have the calm music on, speak to you really softly and prepare you for your treatment. I found it was a little weird even then but it was G-rated. Now, because the world is an odd place and virtually everything get sexualised, ASMR can have a sexual undertone. No judgement. This might be right up your ally. But personally, it makes me cringe - just not for me.