5 ASMR Videos to Give You The Brain Tingles
Do you find yourself oddly calmed by little audible or visible tics—say the smacking of lips or the crinkling of bubble wrap? Do shivers trickle down your spine while getting a haircut? Do you listen to Noam Chomsky’s voice to help you relax? If so, you might be susceptible to ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response—described by one writer as “a tingling, buzzing, warm, relaxing sensation that runs through your brain.” Common ASMR triggers include whispering, scratching, crinkling, and doting attention.
In a story for This American Life, Andrea Seigel describes her confusion and shame surrounding her sensitivity: “I never told anyone about what was going on in my head, not even my boyfriend, Brent. Like I would never turn to him during dinner and ask, ‘So when the fork just delicately pinged against the knife, did you get brain tingles too?'” Due to its oddity, the ASMR community, united by audio and video collections that can trigger these brain tingles, would likely have never formed without the internet. But unlike some other online subcultures (see: Bronies, weird porn enthusiasts, Pewdiepie fans), the desired end result isn’t some perverse climax, but a yogic calm. A massage for your brain stem.
In order to learn more about ASMR—and low-key zone out at the office—we culled together this list of some of our favorite ASMR videos. Plug in your headphones, turn off your devices, and melt the fuzz.
Scratchy Penmanship Draws Us Towards Sensational Bliss
In the ASMR community, videos are either intentional, guided videos meant to stimulate ASMR, or unintentional, random videos that happen to include the group’s valued qualities. This video, of a calligraphist trying out a new pen, falls into the latter category.
“Departure” Makes Booking a Flight Actually Relaxing
This intentional video, from ASMRrequests, shows how YouTubers will attempt to trigger the response. You’ve got eye contact, a whispering, calming voice, and then some straight up future doodads that all attempt to melt your brain. “Departure” is notable for its high production values. We feel ourselves being lulled into a trance state, acutely aware of how eerily similar this process is to the beginning of Total Recall.
Double Trouble With Philosophy And Brain Tingles
Oftentimes, ASMR artists will whisper through history books, extolling horrific facts about Alexander the Great and the Irish Potato Famine with murmured reassurance. However, this video, by visual artist Julie Weitz, combines Henri Bergson’s philosophy of mind with psychedelic visuals of a brain model dripping in paint. Weitz’s “Touch Museum“, which premiered in LA last year, was the first art exhibit to focus on ASMR.
No Bad Hair Days With “Virtual Barber Shop”
It’s time to hop into our “way back” machine and go to the year 2007. Ignoring, if you can, the stereotypical Italian impersonations that would make even the people at Nintendo cringe, this binaural recording captures the effect of getting a haircut impressively. Binaural recording simulates 3D sounds by using dummy head recording in order to account for the internal acoustics of the ear. The audio can then be artificially placed anywhere in your ear, creating the effect of surround sound even on shitty iPhone earbuds.
This Binaural Thunderstorm Will Make Your Hair Stand On End
I recognize that this will put me at odds with all dogs in existence, but I find something relaxing in the sounds of thunderstorms. The persistent taps of rainfall. The Metro Boomin of far off thunder claps. This binaural recording is able to hit all those pleasure centers, electrifying my brain without any real fear of being electrocuted by a stray lightning strike. Bless.
BONUS: “Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep,” Adds Subtle Dad Humor To The Mix
Finally, it’d be remiss of us not to mention Adult Swim’s incredible parody of ASMR. The video, which ran unannounced for a week on Adult Swim at four in the morning, offers sublime fireside comedy.
Stay tuned to Milk for more zen-like trances (also try lightly whispering all our articles when you read them).