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ASMR - does it make your spine tingle?! Is it fetishist?

Fancy some tingles?!
Welcome back to the Savvy 'n' Sassy blog. I hope today finds you well and excited for the weekend. According to the weather forecast we are in for snow here in London, so I shall dig out the thick socks again just in case!

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Todays' blog is all about ASMR. Have you heard of it?(no pun intended!). Have you ever wondered what it is? More importantly will it send tingles down your spine?!

I cam across ASMR just last week when I was watching the awesome Stef Sanjati doing a parody video which was hilarious. It was, lets be fair, parodying ASMR videos that can be found on You Tube. It got me interested!
What exactly is ASMR?
The acronym stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. This means in layman's terms that it is all about a tingling response that begins in the scalp, works its way down the back of your neck and into the upper part of your spine. Those who experience it claim it is like a low level euphoria and it helps them relax or sleep. It seems to have been a thing for a while now, however recently it has grown like crazy. There are specialist communities and if you do a You Tube search you will find just shy of 12 million videos!

So how does one get these tingles? What are the triggers?
Most videos feaure the creator making sounds or whispering. I found a video that was 45 minutes of finger nail tapping on plastic, it had 750,000 views! I checked out London ASMRartist Red Whispers to see if any of her trigger videos could relax me and help me through this long term hormone driven lack of sleep that's hitting me right now. I found one called Tucking you into bed. Now, it said there would be rustling sounds, massage and humming. So I guessed it might work. When you are as knackered as I am you will try most things once. Agreed?! Emma at Redwhispers uses binaural mics. This makes her voice super crisp and amplifies every sound. This creates the acoustic trigger but you can also watch her as she acts out getting you ready for bed, the visual stimuli. Now I am sure that Emma is a really lovely person but after a minute or so I started to feel very uncomfortable emotionally. The sounds and the smiling at the camera made me feel as though I was engaging in some kind of fetish thing which wasn't my particular bag! The video is well made but extraordinarily intimate, which is of course the goal. You are meant to feel part of the whole exercise , get the tingles, relax and or fall asleep. I had to switch it off. I did wonder if I was being a bit hasty so tried the next night. I was so creeped out by the video that I couldn't look poor Emma in the eye! It might just be that it's not for me and that I need to go back to more traditional forms of meditation. Clearly there are millions of followers and an army and a half of self styled ASMRtists as well as huge communities discussing the topic all the time.Emma is incredibly popular so quite clearly she is bringing help to a vast number of people.
Is it fetishist?
I guess it depends on what floats your boat. Strikingly, nearly all the you tube content creators are attractive women, many do medical exam role play and the gentleness of the whispering combined with the closeness of their faces and the binaural recording makes it fell verrrry intimate indeed.Many use the word braingasm too, although I am not convinced that sounds wildly sexual!. I've also heard it referred to as an ear orgasm.Some followers say that the lovely Bob Ross was an ASMRtist as the way he whispered whilst painting and his gentle brush sounds could send tingles down one's spine. Personally, I do find watching him relaxing but does it make me feel tingly?.....NO! I am not entirely convinced it is sexual by nature.
Does science back it up?
Well, yes and no. 
Most of the reporting about triggers and responses is anectdotal. Amer Khan from the Sutter Neuroscience Institue believes that it doesn't deal with issues but creates a white noise substitute for a diagnosis. Professor Carl W Bazil however contradicts this viewpoint and believes that it is not much different to using binaural meditation. Ultimatley it didn't work for me however you make up your own mind.

This might be just what you are looking for if you need sleep help or fancy some tingles! My daughter in law likes it to help her get to sleep, my son says it makes him feel nauseous.Can I just suggest that once you have had a little explore of the serious you tube videos you check out the Stef Sanjati parody. She's not being disrespectful, but it is hilarious.

I hope you have a great day and that your weekend brings peace and loveliness to you and yours.
Janie S xxx


  1. great article! There's now newer studies and even better backing against asmr. check it out here!


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