ASMR is a fancy name for the relaxation response that is triggered by various auditory and visual stimuli. Some people experience it as a tingling sensation that starts at the top of the head and drifts down the body. Others just relax enough to fall asleep. The phenomenon is most active on YouTube where the “whisper” community make all manner of videos that contain relaxation triggers. Some ASMRartists have expensive binaural microphones to enhance the audio experience in their videos. I think about ASMR as foley artistry in the extreme. As a kid, I used to listen to a record …something something and the night time noises I think was the partial title. I can remember getting tingles and chills when the lonely train whistle blew as part of the narrative of the recording. I’ve had other experiences of ASMR, and like most, had no idea that this is what I was experiencing. Music has always been a big trigger for me, as is personal attention, tapping (it sounds like rain to me) and odd things like fortune telling. In the default world, palmstry, tea leaves, and tarot card readings would also stimulate the effect for me. (Not always, but most of the time) I can remember having an ASMR reaction to the Picasso exhibition at the Guggenheim when it still had an installation at the Venetian. So, there is not one thing that really triggers it for me. I can watch hours of ASMR videos and things that triggered me before don’t but something visual will. The good part is that there are lots of people making videos now so the variety is awesome. I even like the Reiki ones and some of the bilingual videos.
I might make a few of my own someday. I have a few ideas but I need to test out equipment first. I am not sure how I feel about being on camera. I am a behind the scenes person nowadays anyway.
I made a not resolution with myself to meditate because I am so stressed my hair is falling out. Well, make that me yanking it out because I get so damned frustrated. I have this stupid illusion that I could actually be in control of my life. The stress and tension come from feeling that I have no control, and wanting to be in control, when that is not possible. There is nothing more frightening and depressing actually, although I have met some people recently who definitely have more problems than I do. In comparison, I have it easy, so I just need to remind myself that everyone is sitting in their own hell, and that I can’t be comparing myself, because their problems are unique to them, and possibly worse than mine. The upshot is to be grateful for what I do have because the alternative is terrifying.
Anyway, in talking to my cousin, (she is the one encouraging me to meditate) I told her about ASMR and how it is a form of meditation. The one I have chosen to illustrate this phenomenon is from Gentle Whispering, who is one of the long time innovators in the ASMR community. The video is a role play in which the viewer is receiving a facial from a spa therapist. I will be honest and say this is not a particularly new theme for ASMR, in fact it has been done hundreds of times to varying levels of complexity and enjoyment. Gentle Whispering, however, has mastered the natural delivery of light conversation, while incorporating multiple triggers, both auditory and visually. In particular, I like her use of tapping and crinkling. The effects are realistic, meaning the facial chair is leaned back, the steamer bubbles invitingly, and steam actually fogs up the camera lens. The use of her whisper voice is soothing, and her attention to spa details precise. I also like the video within the video effect. The concept of adding positive affirmations for inner and outer beauty was innovative at the time this video was initially published. The video is one of her more complex videos but it works, and from the number of views, it has worked for a number of people. She has recently received a lot of press about ASMR, so if you want to check out her channel on YouTube, you will find more conceptual explanations of ASMR, and a plethora of videos that contain something that might make you tingle or fall asleep faster.