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There are over 5 million ASMR videos on YouTube, according to Think With Google. What might have seemed like a temporary trend, has become a booming industry and a pleasurable activity that’s likely here to stay.

So, what is ASMR? ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It’s the fancy word for an experience you’ve probably had many times. Most describe it as a tingly sensation that starts at the top of the head and moves down the back, creating a relaxing sensation comparable to a mild form of euphoria. You might have experienced it during childhood games, like the classic “spiders crawling up your back” where friends would perform light movements on your back and head. Somewhere along the line, online content creators realized people seek out this sensation so much that there was money to be made. And the world of ASMR content was born. Here’s a closer look at this popular trend and all it entails.


Different Types Of ASMR

Close-Up Of Wet Leaves On Rainy Day

Source: Katawut Orthaisong / EyeEm / Getty

ASMR has become mostly associated with sounds, but it can actually include a visual element and even touch. One particular type of ASMR touch is called effleurage, which is described by Oxford Dictionary as “A form of massage involving a circular stroking movement made with the palm of the hand.” But, as far as the world of online ASMR content goes, the touch element will need to be self-provided.

What you can find online are audio and video files with some of the more popular ASMR sounds and images known to create that calming, tingling feeling. These are usually familiar, every day, neutral sounds and images. Some of the more popular audio sounds include:

  • Scratching
  • Blowing
  • Page turning
  • Whispering
  • Crinkling
  • Chewing
  • Water drops
  • A ticking clock
  • Buzzing
  • A motor humming

Visual ASMR is also popular. It might accompany audio files and it might not. Some popular ASMR images include:

  • The mixing of paint
  • Gentle hand movements
  • The brushing of hair
  • A mouth chewing
  • Hair being cut
  • Rain splashing on a surface

The key to ASMR – at least for relaxation – is that the sounds and visuals are neutral. They do not elicit any intense emotion such as excitement or fear, so they put the mind in a relaxed state.


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