What is ASMR and why are people watching videos of people whispering?

Hilary Duff ASMR

Here’s what you need to know about the wellness trend everyone is *obsessing* over

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / June 07 2019

Have you heard of ASMR? It’s the newest (and honestly, the weirdest) wellness trend people can’t get enough of. Just type it into the search bar on YouTube and we guarantee a million videos will pop up – some of them with an *insane* amount of views.

So, what is an ASMR video? Well, in this corner of the Internet, video makers record themselves doing something as simple as brushing their hair, whispering or nail tapping – and people are literally *frothing* over it.

Sounds weird right? Let us explain what it’s all about!

What is ASMR? And what does ASMR stand for?

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response – a term that describes the tingling sensation people get on their skin that typically begins at the scalp and moves down the back of the neck or upper spine. It’s not an easy one to define, but it’s kind of similar to the feeling you would get from a head massage at the hairdressers.

While there’s no solid research behind ASMR, the Internet is going nuts about the benefits of these videos, touting them for their relaxation, mood-boosting and even sleep-inducing abilities (it’s about to send the sleep clinic out of business, people).

And what’s interesting is that not everyone has the same feelings towards the same ASMR videos, because everyone get those soothing and tingling-inducing feelings from different triggers. While some may experience the effects of ASMR during videos of mundane tasks like folding towels, running water, eating, tapping, or crinkling paper, others are triggered by more elaborate role-play videos, like a doctor or hairdresser speaking in gentle whispers (yep, it gets pretty bizarre, but stay with us!).

Some creators even use what is called binaural ASMR recording techniques to make listeners feel like they’re *actually* there. It involves using two microphones during the recording, specifically designed to mimic ears (they’re even separated the same distance apart as ears!). The point? If you’re listening to this type of binaural ASMR on your headphones (as opposed to a loudspeaker), the sound from the left earpiece is audible only to the left ear, and the sound from the right ear piece is audible only to the right ear. Because the sound source isn’t mixed, the listener feels in close proximity to the location of the sound. In short – it makes you feel like you’re experiencing the situation firsthand for a complete ASMR experience. 

So why is ASMR so effective? Well, the world we live in today is one that is pretty darn stressful and face-paced, so ASMR has become a tool that some people can use to de-stress, reassess and relax. Similar to sticking your headphones on and listening to music, ASMR gives you the opportunity to zone out, take a small break and listen or watch these videos – no matter where you are.

Want to know how to get in on this action? Well lucky for you, there are a whole HEAP of ASMR videos to choose from – seriously there’s over 13 million of them on YouTube. And some of them even feature your favourite celebs! From Margot Robbie to Ariana Grande, Cardi B, Chloe Mortez and Eva Longoria, you’re guaranteed to become addicted to these amazingly soothing, tingling videos.

If you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep, check out the underrated beauty product your bedtime routine could be missing.

Are you a fan of ASMR? What do you like about it? Let us know in the comment section below.

Main image credit: Getty

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.