Unlike most of the internet now, I didn't know what ASMR was until late 2018. I didn't even realize that I was familiar with it. After years of experiencing weird tingles on my scalp whenever someone brushed my hair or did my makeup, I finally realized that not everyone felt the way that I did. Realizing that maybe something weird was going on, I did what most people do in a panic. I googled it.
It turns out that what I was experiencing was completely normal. These tingling sensations are called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Basically, when you hear or see something pleasant, your brain registers the experience and a calming sensation takes over. Some people have described it as goose bumps, but more often than not, it's described as something more similar to a gentle scalp massage.
After I found out that what I was experiencing was actually quite a popular sensation, I fell down the internet hole. ASMR usually requires some sort of trigger, so what did the online world do? They took to Youtube. There are thousands upon thousands of ASMR videos on Youtube with pretty much any trigger that you can think of. The most popular trigger overall seems to be tapping, but triggers can range from personal attention to lights to whispering.
At first, I was really weirded out by the videos that I found. A lot of ASMR videos include role play and a big misconception of ASMR is that it's something sexual. While most people who experience ASMR would describe the feeling as pleasing or enjoyable, it just isn't sexual in nature. It is meant to be relaxing and a lot viewers watch it before they go to sleep. Some people even watch it specifically to ease their insomnia.
So, why is ASMR suddenly becoming so popular? Well, like most things on the internet, it takes a while for a community to grow. Once a certain genre or topic has enough people producing related content, it becomes easier to find and, therefore, more likely to be found. ASMR videos have been around for years on Youtube, but lately it's become so popular that there are even videos including celebrities doing ASMR.
Still confused? Curious? Interested in experiencing some ASMR?