Relaxation and reducing unnecessary stress has and will always be important to everyone. While there are several ways of winding down including yoga retreats, wellness conferences, supplements and pharmaceuticals, special diets, and top-of-the-line spa and vacation packages, it’s not as budget-friendly. But what if we told you the answer to your stress-related quandaries could easily be found on YouTube?

Ever heard of ASMR? It’s been all the buzz as of late, and we’re breaking it down for you below.

What is ASMR?
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response (coined in 2010 by Jennifer Allen). This name might just seem like a bunch of words strung together, but it essentially breaks down as:

  • Autonomous: spontaneous, self-governing (you may or may not be in control)
  • Sensory: pertaining to the senses
  • Meridian: denoting a peak, climax

It’s an experience triggered by a number of different sounds that produces a static-like or tingling sensation typically starting at the scalp and moving down the back of the neck. Have you ever listened to Bob Ross and thought, “Wow, this is so relaxing,” or have you listened to the soft crackle of a microphone and been transfixed by its transformative properties? Then you have experienced ASMR.

How does it work?
It’s different for everyone, and some people even describe it as a sexual experience. Many ASMR videos on YouTube have some kind of slightly suggestive quality to them. Take a look at this popular ASMR account where a woman whispers into a microphone about her pickle eating:

She moves around the microphone to get different sounds, taps on her acrylic nails, narrates in very soft tones the difference between the pickles she’s eating, and scratches on a plastic plate. While any number of triggers can produce ASMR, some other common ones (not shown in the video) include blowing, page-turning, napkin folding, plastic crinkling, sticky fingers, hand movements, and buzzing.

If you’re listening to these sounds and are thinking, “This is bizarre entertainment,” you probably haven’t, or don’t often, experience ASMR. But for those who experience a peaceful feeling of euphoria, you’re experiencing ASMR.

How can you experience ASMR?
Somewhat like meditation, if you don’t naturally experience tingling, you probably need to practice. Different triggers will have different effects — try listening to a variety of sounds in this video:

The woman in the video improvises with a number of household objects — she scratches boxes, rubs a latex glove between her hands, scrapes a brush over her microphone, and more. Many believe if you’re listening in a familiar place (like your bedroom) with headphones on, you’re more likely to experience ASMR. Also, look out for triggers and situations in your everyday life; maybe your partner’s voice or your dog’s fur is the only thing that’ll send you into a bliss. Test it out, and go forth and be relaxed!

xx, The FabFitFun Team