ASMR – That’s what that head tingling is

What is ASMR?

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it refers to a phenomenon which is very difficult to explain to those that do not experience it. It is usually experienced through a relaxing tingling in the scalp and the back of the neck and can extend into the rest of the body. It is a very calming sensation that washes over you.

I first encountered ASMR, as do most people, as a child. I never knew exactly what it was. I experienced it when certain teachers spoke, during certain TV shows and at the dentist. I didn’t understand the sensation but enjoyed it, and would try and stay very calm and relaxed every time it happened to try and lengthen my experience of it. You can read the full story of how I found ASMR in this post.

Have you ever been at the doctor, or maybe watching someone paint on television and felt a relaxing tingling sensation on your scalp or neck? Keep reading if the answer is yes, because you might be someone who can experience this unique sensation and you’re just about to open your eyes to a whole new world.

Is ASMR actually real, or just new-age pseudoscience?

Relaxing in the grass with ASMR

ASMR is about relaxation and so much more.

Short answer: yes it is real – probably. Whilst there has been little scientific research conducted on the topic, the vast amount of anecdotal evidence is convincing that there is a common underlying condition. You can read more about the science here.

Can anybody experience ASMR?

It seems at the moment that the answer is no. Not everybody reports experiencing this sensation. Most people discover it by accident in their childhood, however some adults experience it for the first time. If you haven’t experienced ASMR before, it might just be that you haven’t found your personal triggers yet. Check out our article detailing the common triggers to see if any of them do it for you.

If none of the common triggers seem to give you the tingles, then maybe you could try a head massager. I’ve found these to give a similar sensation to ASMR, often times even much more intense.

Benefits of ASMR

Aside from the pleasurable sensation that ASMR offers there are a range of other benefits. Many intentional ASMR videos are essentially forms of guided meditations, meditating regularly has been shown to reduce stress levels and aid concentration among many other things. For a lot of people ASMR is a gateway to developing an ongoing meditative practice. 

Additionally people who suffer from insomnia and regularly have difficulty getting to sleep can use ASMR videos to distract and relax them, and send them sleep when nothing else will. Some ASMR videos are designed specifically for this purpose, however if you find videos that include your personal triggers they should all be effective at this.

I think I have ASMR, how do I get started?

For many people they might have experienced the sensation of ASMR before but not necessarily understand it, or seek it out too seriously. When you first find the ASMR community online it can be a very exciting time, knowing that you are part of a group and a very welcoming community. However it can also be very overwhelming and it isn’t particularly clear where to start. For some great tips to help you get the most from your ASMR you should check out our free ebook.

To get your free copy of our ebook How To Get The Most From Your ASMR, simply enter your email address below and subscribe for our free updates. We’ll send you your free copy of the ebook, and keep you in the loop with the latest news.

How To Get The Most From Your ASMR eBook
Our free eBook is full of tips and tricks to help you get tingles. Subscribe to receive email updates to get your free copy today.

 Apart from that check out the common ASMR triggers or grab yourself an ASMR inducing DVD settle down and relax into the awesomeness that is ASMR.

  • MrGamma

    Looks interesting… some foods and bad diets might make you an anesthetic…

  • Timothy Tipton Warlow

    I have a question about my own experience with ASMR. I do not have any of the common triggers that are mentioned here. Mine seems more cognitive than anything else. When I fully express a thought with someone who is deeply engaged in the conversation and they agree with me or give me some sign that they understand, I get an intense tingle in my head and scalp. I think its very odd, but I enjoy it and I think it has reinforced my ability and preference for good conversation. I am just curious if anyone else experiences anything remotely similar to this and if you have found anything else that goes along with it. Thanks!

    • Oliver Springett

      I do sometimes. I also get it when I am learning/studying intently. I think that perhaps ASMR could be linked to human contact intellectually as well as physically.

    • Carlos Cruz

      Yeah mine is along the line of yours. I usually feel mine when I’m listening to music and the artist says something I can connect deeply with

    • EarlG

      I experience the same, for the first time in my childhood with a teacher, later with other people when talking to them. Until I found out about ASMR, I sometimes thought about it and just came to the conclusion that it must be some special form of sympathy. But other triggers work for me as well.

    • DiscoverASMR

      Yes! It think it comes from an inner happiness response. I’ve heard this many times and people who has this trigger also get ASMR from being physically close to someone in a silent atmosphere

  • Binkan

    I sometimes feel something similar when I have tension in my head/neck and I or someone else pokes (for lack of a better word) some points in the back of my neck.

    I’ve not much knowledge of muscle physiology or the peripheral nervous system (which I’m guessing this is related to), but it does /sound/ fairly pseudosciencey..

    I do EEG research and at first I thought this would be a pretty difficult thing to investigate, but looking at your site it seems like some people experience it just by watching videos?

    Anyone with half decent EEG lab set-up and access to people who experience AMSR could test for it’s existence easily enough, It would just need funding. EEG equipment is fairly cheap to run once you already have it, the most expensive part is probably researchers time.

    If there is any interest in actually carrying out this project, I’d be more than happy to assist, hell I’d run it myself if funding could be secured, in the mean time I have a different project to finish, for which the money already ran out a while ago ; _ ;

  • Jennifer Derrick

    I have been experiencing “ASMR” for as long as I can remember. Of course there are certain natural physical or visual triggers, but for me the trigger is a little more esoteric. It can happen at anytime and I generally connect to cognitive thought. I had no idea it had a name. When i am in meditation and i feel a connection with the divine (higher self, whatever anyone chooses to call it) it comes on as a full body buzz. I generally associate it with being aligned to something and getting a thumbs up, or green light to proceed. The absence of ASMR indicates a thumbs down for me, or a red light. So i guess you could say it is a tool of intuition for me. For example, i will have an ASMR top left quadrant of head, within a moment i will hear from someone i have been thinking about or not thinking about. In the beginning it would present only at the top of my crown, now it can originate at forehead or temporal lobes, base of head, etc. i had no idea it had a name until i stumbled on a you tube video and googled ASMR.bdoes anyone else associate it with something non-linear?

    • John.h

      I can completely relate to your experiences. ASMR is a little bit more intense/concentrated for me. Sometimes during random moments, I have a second of seizure-like inclinations that are backed up with an pricking feeling of ASMR,that is located in my entire body except for the tips of my feet.

  • Hipphurra

    From time to time I get something called AUTTAS. Am I the only one?
    It’s an abbreviation for an urge to take a shit.

  • adan

    I can control my asmr, I love using it while driving back home listening to documentaries, I can intensify my asmr that i get to the point of crying without feeling sad but in fact I feel awaken and truly Happy

  • Brittany

    OMG I thought I was alone this whole time (and I am almost 30 years old). I thought I was strange and I thought I just was (and I hate to use this word but I don’t know another one to choose at this moment), attracted to these sounds.. even the Bob Ross one. I have loved the way certain sounds resonate with me ever since I was a very small child. I have purposefully bought movies and kept recorded TV shows on my DVR just so I can replay certain parts with the sounds and people’s voices that have triggered for me. I feel so relieved and happy to know there is a whole community of people just like me. This is actually the first time I have ever told a single person about my feelings on this. I have kept it hidden for years thinking someone would find me strange. I can’t even begin to describe the relief I feel knowing other people experience these triggers and feelings. I am excited to explore this further.

  • Lynn Becker

    I can’t remember when I didn’t experience ASMR, I seem to have a number of triggers, whispering, hair brushing, just watching a massage on TV, particularly the healing hand hovering type. I go to a local hairdresser I can walk to, because I’m too zoned out to drive afterwards. Great feeling I love it.
    However I’ve noticed if I over indulge I can get a headache, I am a migraine sufferer so I have to be careful not to trigger one by too much ASMR. In moderation it’s just a fabulous mood booster.
    I’m happy to realize I’m not the only person who can access this wonderful feeling.

  • glitch132

    Sounds work ok, but I have always got the most (for lack of better word) intense asmr from touch. They don’t even have to touch me. When I was in 4-5 grade I would get it when someone I dont know well touched something close to me like my favorite stuffed animal or the eraser I use every day at school. Now I can just get lightly touched on the face and it will happen. I can just think about it and get it now.

  • Robby Jordan

    I have a question. ASMR does not trigger when I am listening to electronic recordings. It has to be occurring around me. Mostly when my friends play guitar. It has to be sincere and the person has to know that I am hearing their work. I really wish I could trigger it electronically. Any tips?

  • T Stanton

    My ex boyfriend used to chew the caps of water bottles. I would hear the hard popping plastic sounds at first and as the plastic softened I would listen to the gum-like chewing sounds.
    I started to experience ASMR in college sitting in the dining hall listening to people eat. It is very relaxing and puts me in a good mood. After reading through many comments and watching countless YouTube videos I’m happy to know this isn’t just a weird quirk of mine.
    It’s been 2 years since my relationship ended and his bottle cap chewing is the only thing I miss about him lol. I wonder if I could convince the next poor guy to chew water bottle caps.
    Thank you for the informative article.

  • Roger M Edmunds Jr.

    waiting on my ebook! Thanks for the help!

  • Tanner

    Found this guy yesterday. I usually like female asmrtists but I like him.

    • Kelly Smith

      Try watching some of ASMR Guitar’s videos.

  • Josh Kwon

    I actually find a crinkle asmr app that I use if anyone else wants to as well. I just love the peaceful user settings and the high quality sounds! Really recommend to anyone who is looking for some amazing tingles!

  • David Bamberg

    I’ve had these triggers for years, going back to when I was around 8 years old. Years later, while watch Bob Ross, on PBS, I noticed that I fell asleep, and awoke 30 minutes later, totally relaxed. This happened with several other television shows as well as watching people involved in repetitive tasks, such as the lady at the gym, sweeping the floors or while having the hygienist clean my teeth. All I know is this: Whatever it is, it feels good in the back of my brain. This reminds me of my son’s study of binuarals-the constant tones, which, when experienced via headphones, causes different reactions, such as enhanced creativity or inner-peace. Perhaps those involved in Music Therapy will find this helpful in the treatment of their brain-injured patients. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was given music therapy as part of her rehabilitation. It’s nice to have the internet to share these things.