ASMR - tickling the brain

Have you ever had a brain orgasm? If not, then maybe you've just never heard of ASMR and should make up for it as soon as possible!

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response" describes the perception of an intense, pleasant tingling sensation at the top of the head that can spread down the neck and into the arms. Triggering stimuli for this brain tickling can vary greatly depending on the person: certain sounds, images or movements. But they are usually social in nature and very intimate, such as soft whispering or hair combing. And the experience is generally associated with relaxation and satisfaction.

Becoming known

The first reports appeared in 2010 in online communities in the U.S., where people were discussing the tingling experience with each other and there was not yet a name for the feeling. Subsequently, journalists became aware of it. The public was informed about the "brain orgasm" via social media and television, and in 2012 it was also reported in German-speaking countries for the first time.

Since then, a growing following has been found, who say of themselves that they are downright addicted to the sensation. So it's no wonder that an entire YouTube and porn section has now been established around this special phenomenon. Individual videos of ASMR artists with their specially created role-playing games are already being viewed millions of times.

What does a brain orgasm feel like?

The so-called "tingles" typically occur on the scalp at the back of the head and resemble an electrical discharge that comes in waves and can last for several minutes. However, by consciously detaching from the stimulus, this sensation can be interrupted.

One might confuse this tickling sensation with the goosebumps that one also gets when listening to music or a very emotional memory. However, this is not the same and is called a "fisson". It tends to spread through the body quickly and suddenly, unlike the ASMR experience, and tends to be associated with excitement or arousal.

Likewise, with role-playing and intimate sounds, one could easily impute an erotic note to the phenomenon. Most of the time, however, consumers listen to ASMR videos to relieve stress or to relax and fall asleep better. This is also helped by the fact that people are supposed to lie down and use headphones. The entire atmosphere is focused on the few sensory impressions and detachment from the real world.

Scientific research

To date, there is little research on the topic and most knowledge is based on questionnaires from people with ASMR sensations. However, there is now agreement on its validity as a separate sensory experience with phenomenological features and further scientific research will be conducted in the future.

Especially since ASMR stimuli have already been used to temporarily attenuate symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. This could enable new forms of therapy.

According to one of the few studies, the main triggers for an ASMR experience are: whispering, personal attention, and crackling sounds during slow, repetitive movements.

Maybe that's why people like to go to the hairdresser, massage or nail salon, because they can indulge in just that experience.

Among the haptic stimuli that can trigger this tingling sensation is combing the hair and applying nail polish on the counterpart. So the stylist and beautician also derives satisfaction from his activity himself. What a beautiful career choice this is. ;)

Another common trigger is watching other people paint or prepare something.This is very reminiscent of popular videos of artists like Bob Ross or famous cooking shows. We are all familiar with this inexplicable and reassuring pull, even though we do not intend to become active ourselves and imitate something.

Interestingly, there was an increased openness to new experiences among the subjects. This is associated with interest, unconventionality, artistic or aesthetic tendencies, and a strong sensibility. Such people are generally curious about the world around them and may be prone to vivid fantasies or daydreams.

Are you susceptible?

In surveys, more than half of respondents say they are sensitive to such stimuli and can feel a tingling sensation.

I was of course immediately curious to find out this for myself and wanted to know if I could awaken such sensations in me. For this I watched a few typical ASMR videos with promised tingles.

And what can I say? Some triggers were more and others less effective. At least, in my opinion, you have to get involved in the experience first and you can probably even train it. Then the body ensures with appropriate reactions that we get pleasure from relaxation.

Have you become curious, too?
Then get some headphones, make yourself comfortable and observe yourself once while you relax.

German: ASMR with Janina
English: ASMR with Sassy




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