If you are reading this, there is a large chance that you are involved with YouTube in some way. Whether you are subscribed to users who have a large following and consider yourself a member of that community, you use it to listen to music, or you just watch funny cat videos during your lunch break at work, YouTube is likely prevalent in your life. You may even make videos of your own to share content and express your thoughts as I have recently started doing.
Though I am new to the YouTube community in terms of putting myself out there through videos, subscribing to others’ channels is not a new concept to me. I have specifically been invested in what is referred to as the “beauty community.” In this community, girls (and guys too!) share with the world their makeup and hair tips and tricks, ways in which they organize their rooms and purses, outfits they have put together and really anything else you could think of. While this may seem like a weird invasion of privacy to some, others see it as a way to learn more and connect through something they have in common – a love for all things beauty.
I often find myself waking up too early in the morning without being able to get back to sleep, which leads to me trying to occupy myself with my phone and finally ending up on YouTube. I was watching a jewelry collection, which is essentially just as it sounds – a video where someone shows the different pieces of jewelry that they own. While I was being nosy and coveting someone’s sparkly Pandora bracelet and dainty necklaces, others seemed to have a different purpose for viewing. While scrolling through the comments, I noticed people saying that they got a relaxing, tingling sensation from hearing the jewelry clink together. Others responded to these comments saying it was a sensation called ASMR.
I was really confused by and curious about the reaction people were having to the video, so I had to look it up for myself. I discovered that the phenomenon people were describing, ASMR, was a credible experience. Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is a tingling sensation that is provoked by certain stimuli of any of the five senses. This tingling occurs in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body. While it seemed to me that there are thousands or millions of things that could trigger the response described by this vague definition, there are quite apparently some specific ones.
I found this out by searching for ASMR-specific videos on YouTube. There is an entire community of people who make and listen to videos that trigger this sensation. Commenters say they use it to help relieve stress, help them sleep, and even soothe depression and anxiety. Videos include sounds like clicking, tapping nails, the crinkling of paper, and especially whispering. There is also a good deal of “roleplay” videos, which I could never quite get myself to watch until I decided to write this article. There are doctor’s office, haircut, massage, and even vampire roleplays, and it doesn’t stop there.
Personally, I’ve found every ASMR-labeled video I’ve watched to be very uncomfortable. I don’t get the relaxing, tingling sensation described. Instead, I mostly just feel spooked. I’ve never been able to get through one full video without having to turn it off. While many ASMR video watchers are very adamant about the fact that their roleplay videos are not intended to be sexual, I couldn’t help but get that creepy vibe. I found it so interesting that people find these videos so relaxing and enjoyable that I couldn’t help but bring attention to them in an article.
To make a long story short, if you’re feeling curious, or want to try out a new relaxation technique, it may not be a bad idea to give these videos a shot. You may end up feeling incredibly freaked out like I was or discovering something new that you find enjoyable. Either way, I was excited to learn that there are weirder things out there in YouTube land than watching people show how they apply their makeup or what products make their hair the smoothest.