A few weeks ago at work, I overheard someone say, “A.S.M.R.” Normally when I overhear things at work, I stare at my computer screen for a minute, open my Google doc titled, “New Ways to Avoid People,” and start furiously typing.
This time I hesitated for only a moment before popping up and walking two cubicles down.
“I’m so sorry I
totally meant to didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I heard you say ASMR and I just had to come over. I’m Jules, by the way because despite the fact that I’ve sat two desks away from you for a year I’ve been really busy with this whole Google doc thing. I’ve been listening to ASMR for ages and everything you’re hearing about it is TOTALLY true!”
Many years ago, a fellow blogger clued me into this newfangled phenomenon called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or, ASMR. “Just watch this and keep an open mind,” she said. “I swear it’s not dirty.”
As I watched this pretty, whispering blonde woman, grateful I was in the privacy of my own home, I suddenly felt tingles on the sides of my scalp. It was so pleasant, in such a benign and innocent way, that I laughed out loud. It was similar to the feeling I used to get when my sister or a friend would brush and braid my hair. I’m pretty sure it’s exactly how a dog feels when you scratch behind his or her ears in that juuuust right spot.
I began a nightly ritual of falling asleep to these videos, my ex chiding me as I’d put on headphones. “Gonna listen to your whispers?” he’d tease. He was the only one who knew about this little routine, because, well, it was a little…weird.
As my work conversation proves, ASMR has exploded over the past six years. Some people theorize that the sound of a nurturing woman’s voice brings us back to early childhood. Many people, like me, use it as a sleep aid.
Where there used to be half a dozen ASMR “artists” on YouTube, there are now thousands. The woman above, Maria from Gentle Whispering ASMR (my personal favorite), has well over a million YouTube subscribers. Even people like Olivia Munn are hopping onboard. I’m pretty sure there’s now an ASMR artist for anything you can dream up. Turning library book pages? Chewing gum? Folding towels? Scalp massage? (I would keep going but I’m afraid of what I might discover.)
If you’re looking for a little soul-comfort food, I highly recommend browsing YouTube and picking up some dreamy tingles, free of charge.
Hear Here are some of my ASMR favorites:
Have you heard of ASMR? What do you think?