What is ASMR and why does it give people "brain orgasms"?

A video of woman folding towels has garnered 850,000 hits.

But it’s not the technique that has people watching, rather her voice. Welcome to the world of ASMR.

What is ASMR?

For the sub-million people who have watched the 20-minute video, it’s all about a thing called autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR for short. It’s a neurological experience that results in a tingling sensation in the body from listening to soft voices and can cause people to experience “brain orgasms”. Trust me, it’s true.

“[…] ASMR has gone virtually unnoticed in scientific research which is why we wanted to examine whether watching ASMR videos reliably produces feelings of relaxation and accompanying changes in the body — such as decreased heart rate.”

Dr Giulia Poerio, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology (via Science Daily)

More on ASMR: ‘Head orgasms’, meditation and near-death experiences

The B stands for brain tingles

Just 30 seconds into watching the video myself, I felt butterflies in my head. And it’s not just regular people making ASMR videos. Cardi B rapped lines of Bodak Yellow in that manner for Radio 1 a while back and it was the most surreal feeling. Not only does it give your brain tingles, but you also feel it all over your body and it relaxes you. I often use it to de-stress and it has helped me with my mental health and puts me to sleep (in a good way).

But while it can put people to sleep, it doesn’t always have the desired effect for people.

ASMR doesn’t work for everyone and it can be tough to imagine the sensation if you don’t experience it first-hand. […] The audio/video segments are long—in fact, some last up to an hour. They are lengthy so that you can keep watching or listening to them until you drift off.


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