Have you ever listened to the hum of a lawn mower on a summer afternoon, or heard someone rummaging through a drawer, or even sat in the exam chair at the eye doctor's office and felt a delightful, tingly sensation in your scalp? It begins there, then trickles down your head to your neck and shoulders, leaving marvelous relaxation in its wake. This feeling is called autonomous sensory meridian response, and many people experience it regularly. But just what is ASMR? Is it a rare disorder, or is living with ASMR normal? While science is just starting to explore the ASMR phenomenon, you can learn facts about ASMR from those who experience it.
For those who do not experience it personally, autonomous sensory meridian response is difficult to describe. It's a condition science has never explained, but it's very real to those who experience it. For many years, those who experienced ASMR had no clue anyone else felt the same way they did. But thanks to new studies and the emergence of the Internet, the ASMR community can come together like never before.
You Might Call It A Brain Orgasm
This condition wasn't really openly discussed until 2010. That's when the term "autonomous sensory meridian response" was coined by a woman named Jennifer Allen, who started a Facebook page called ASMR Group. Around that same time, other people began talking about the strange sensation on various online forums.
Before it was known as autonomous sensory meridian response, there were some pretty creative names for the sensation. Some called it "brain massage," "head tingle," or even "brain orgasm."
It Can Be Experienced Live Or Through Recordings
Most people who experience ASMR first do in childhood through live interactions, as ASMR researcher Dr. Craig Richard notes:
"Soft touches, caring glances, focused attention, and gentle whispers are all hallmarks of caring parents and ASMR triggers. During the day, a child’s health is probably best served by receiving ASMR directly from loving people in their lives."
But the rise of YouTube has led to hundreds and hundreds of ASMR videos, ready to trigger the tingles at the click of a mouse. As to whether the feelings delivered are the same as those experienced live, opinions differ, though some individuals claim live ASMR is the best.
Not Everyone Experiences It
Not everyone can experience ASMR, though the reasons for this are unknown. Maybe they haven't found the right trigger, or perhaps some people are naturally predisposed to the tingles.