A video popped up on my “suggested videos” tab on Youtube recently that peaked my interest immediately. It was called “Sleep-Inducing Haircut ASMR” and was posted by the user Gentle Whispering ASMR. “What is ASMR?” I asked myself, and so began my descent down the rabbit hole of ASMR videos. (Also, I did get a mental haircut, and this girl really knows what she’s doing.) My husband walked into the room and thought I was watching some kind of strange porn.
Gentle Whispering ASMR has over 1 million subscribers, and that haircut video I just mentioned has over 8 million views! This bizarre trend seems extremely niche, however the numbers speak for themselves.
So, what exactly is it? An article on thinkwithgoogle.com described it like this: “Coined in 2010, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relaxing, often sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body. Also known as ‘brain massage’ it’s triggered by placid sights and sounds such as whispers, accents, and crackles.”
Last night, I watched a video in which the owner of the channel, Maria, gave me an eye exam and helped me pick out a new pair of glasses (seriously.) My head tingled as if someone was brushing my hair, and I felt my muscles relax.
While ASMR has faced some criticism and jokes (for example from Ellen Degeneres) it’s been extremely helpful for many people.
Maria told Nextshark.com, “I have hundreds of messages from people struggling with something and need an outlet to calm down: veterans messaging about PTSD night terrors, so videos calm them down extremely; misunderstood teenagers who don’t know how to deal with life yet and are stressed out because they don’t know how to deal with pressure; people from all walks of life including firefighters, lawyers, teachers, single mothers.”
So, though it may seem strange, give ASMR a try. You might be surprised at how addicted you become to these videos.