1. Auldy

    Auldy Senior Member

    Autonomous sensory meridian response (or ASMR) is currently a trending type of online therapy flooding youtube. Supposedly watching these whispering ladies imaginarily massage you will induce "distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_sensory_meridian_response

    So far there isn't much scientific evidence to back any of this up, but I've seen stories on it featured on several newscasts (including the usually reputable Australian Broadcast Network) and now its filling up my Facebook feed.

    Skeptical, I watched two separate videos on one of the more popular youtube channels 'ASMRrequests', both with millions of views and surprisingly I experienced.. nothing. Maybe lulled into some sort of peaceful meditation, but I could do that with some relaxing music anyway I think.

    Has anyone else experienced these 'synthetic brain orgasms' or experimented with this ASMR stuff? I feel like its bunk, but would like to hear some other peoples opinions.
  2. WeedWhacker

    WeedWhacker Senior Member

    Interesting. I recall (many years ago) when I would close my eyes, and move one hand, finger extended, to "almost"
    touch my forehead....and feel a "tingling sensation" IN my forehead.

    (Of course....it was MY hand, MY body, and MY brain doing this...so was meaningless, in retrospect).
  3. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    I've seen tricks like this in psych classes. They can work on some level* (usually with some priming the pump so you expect it to work) but there's nothing supernatural, your brain is just really easy to trick.

    *-not the level that is often claimed, but it can still be shocking. There's one trick where you have a person hold their hand behind a barrier with a fake hand sticking out. Gently touch their hand and the fake one several times, then pound or stab only the fake one. People can experience convincingly real pain.
  4. Debra

    Debra Member

    I only watched five minutes and wanted to slap her, so I guess you would call that a fail from me. :p
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Steven Novella's take:
    I don't think there's much to debunk here. Clearly people think they feel something, and there's a grey area between physical sensations and psychosomatic sensations.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. Auldy

    Auldy Senior Member

    At least the many (mostly) ladies who are making all these videos aren't charging people for the pleasure. I presume they make money from youtube adds.

    Either way, now all my 'recommended for you' videos are ASMR ones :confused:
  7. tdk84

    tdk84 New Member

    Been lurking these forums for a while but had to sign up after reading this.

    I actually found out about this term ASMR after googling this curious sensation. Then finding out lot of other people also experince it. Like a tingling sensation in my head. Its hard to describe, its very pleasant.

    When I was a young lad at high school I noticed it used to get triggered when someone was teaching or explaining something too me. I've since found out when reading about ASMR it was the whispering that was triggering it when someone was explaining stuff to me in class.

    I've had it through my life triggered at weird times, wasnt till I googled it that i found out about this ASMR in the last 5 years or so.

    These videos on youtube really work for me, some more than other. Usually the videos that are audio based, with the 3d sound people speaking into mics etc.
  8. Greylandra

    Greylandra Member

    If someone told you they had given you a placebo would you still experience the effect?
    You'd probably "experience nothing". This doesn't take away from the mountian of evidence piled up showing the effect is statistically real for reasons we still don't understand.
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Actually, "open label" placebos still work:
  10. tinkertailor

    tinkertailor Active Member

    I have a few friends who swear ASMR works for them. One of them even told me it would 'cure' my anxiety. I tried a few videos and felt nothing, still my normal self with my normal background level of anxiety. I googled it to see what, if anything, my friends were talking about and found a massive forum on reddit, with plenty of subforums for things like Japanese ASMR, Feminine ASMR and somewhat predictably what with the 'brain orgasm' claim, "NSFWASMR". Now, it needs to be said that it isn't all things like pretty women whispering, it appears. Things like paper crinkling seem to be huge with ASMR and, really surprisingly, Bob Ross videos. He's supposedly the king of ASMR. I guess I kind of get it with Bob Ross because he's so damn happy and calm (except for when he gets the mountains and the meadow PERFECT and then he puts a big tree right in the middle of it all and you're thinking NO BOB DON'T MESS IT UP) but paper crinkling and the like make me think that surely some people have some sort of reaction to it. Paper crinkling isn't exactly a noise or activity with a relaxing/soothing/sexy connotation, but ASMR folks love it. Maybe it's something like a sexual fetish where an item with no obvious/direct sexual connections like a shoe becomes a sexual object to some people for whatever reason?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I must have missed this thread the first time around. I think it's kinda a shame people are conflating (on reddit etc) general relaxation and meditative stimuli with "a tingly feeling" that is how this ASMR is described.

    Bob Ross makes me feel sleepy and relaxed :)

    There is a 'study', a small MRI investigation and a survey linked at the above article too to give some tentative insight
    heres the abstract of the MRI one
    I wonder if it is like "nails down a chalkboard". Some people seem to have a physical response to that. I don't unfortunately, so now im curious if there is "tingling" associated with that sound too?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  12. Greylandra

    Greylandra Member

    Well...Thought I'd give the OP video a try just to see for myself. Fell asleep within 10 minutes which is kinda frowned upon at work. So now my anxiety levels are somewhat higher then before. Having said that, it turns out that a gentle and attractive woman whispering sweet nothings into my ear is very relaxing. Who knew?!
  13. Tom Binney

    Tom Binney New Member

    This is incredible timing, because I didn't even know this was a "thing" until this showed up in my YouTube suggestions.

    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QcjAmnDTos

    The whole thing strikes me as... odd. As in I'm sure there are people who are relaxed by this (ok, I'm not sure I'm actually just guessing), but I imagine there are as many (or more- but still just guessing) people getting off on it. These are assertions made in a lifetime of talking to/knowing some creepy people and based on no actual facts that I can cite (and I don't necessarily mean to imply that people with kinks outside the norm are creepy, it really depends on the kink and how they go about acting on it). I think the phenom is too new to have real numbers, but in a couple of years it would be interesting to find out if more people watch ASMR videos for stress relief or for some kind of sexual gratification (again, not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that), and if the latter, how YouTube goes about monetizing those content creators.

    Watching the video in the OP for as long as I could tolerate it, I was torn between wanting to giggle and wanting to scream. Yes, I am a 45 year old child.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017