The Happy Trail

Listen in: Investigating ASMR

ASMR reactions often begin in the back of the head before moving down the spine. Some may experience sensations in their legs, lower back or shoulders. — photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is known to deliver a euphoric head orgasm. ASMR as a sexual experience receives a lot of stigma.

After my research and conversations with Christina Mills it seems that ASMR might be more of an encompassing topic than is commonly thought. ASMR can exist online in the form of videos and memes while theater companies perform live ASMR to an real-life audience.

According to a New York Times article titled, “The Tingle Makers, Open for Business,” ASMR is “the phenomenon in which gentle sounds or touch make some people feel relaxing tingles at the back of the skull.” The feeling typically begins on the scalp and moves down the the back of the neck and upper spine. ASMR works because our brains are triggered by certain phenomenons, but these triggers are personal, and they don’t work the same way for everyone. Something sending tingling feelings down your spine isn’t necessarily tingling your buddy the same way.

Bob Ross is someone who has been using ASMR techniques to stimulate his viewers since the ‘80s. Bob Ross was an American landscape artist with his own television show where he taught his techniques on how to paint.

However, Bob Ross’ fame is only partly due to his excellent instruction: it’s also because his speech is hypnotizing. Ross’s voice is deep, calm and soft. His soothing words subtly command authority while making you feel relaxed.

If someone whispered this Bob Ross quote, found on discoverasmr.com, in your ear you would surely get a tingling sensation: “We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents. Don’t forget to tell these special people in your life just how special they are to you. The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”

Maybe you’ve seen a Bob Ross video and didn’t experience a “brain orgasm,” but ASMR has gained a huge following online, where thousands of viewers watch people blow into and brush microphones.

“I’ve watched ASMR because of social media,” Mills said. ASMR memes are all over the internet and constantly pop up on her social media pages. One YouTube channel “Life with Mak” is frequently shared on meme pages.

It’s not surprising that the ASMR videos of “Life with Mak” have gone viral. Her videos range from eating raw honeycomb into the microphone to looking at the camera saying, “Why don’t you put your big boy pants on.”

Life with Mak videos, and a lot of other ASMR videos, are filled with meme-able moments ready to be clipped and shared overnight. To top things off, the ASMR star Mak is 13 years old.

In Brooklyn, there is an ASMR theater named Whisperlodge. Whisperlodge is the very first in-person immersive ASMR experience aiming to bring ASMR into public spaces, up close and personal.

Whisperlodge is an “intimately-sized” immersive theatre performance, maintaining a one-to-one ratio between guides and guests. ASMR doesn’t just exist online. In fact, it can be something you and your partners or friends do together.

Ranging from Bob Ross to teenagers on the internet to professional theater companies, ASMR is something that has been around and is gaining more attention. So next time you want to feel the tingling sensation like when you get a haircut, nails painted, or back massaged: look online or ask your partner to start a spark of ASMR in you.

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