Celebrity, Entertainment

What the hell is ASMR and why is Cardi B doing it?

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
October 24th, 2018

YouTube is full of weird and wonderful things. Whether you need to learn how to do the perfect smoky eye or impress your kids with some fancy cupcake decorating, YT has you covered. There is literally something for everyone.

There’s a new(ish) phenomenon that has been quietly building momentum on YT over the past few years and it’s all about getting your tingle on. If you haven’t heard of ASMR, you’ll likely fall into two camps; the “OMG, where has this been all my life?” and the “WTF? This is some weirddddddd shit”. I’m in the former ‘cos I’ve been watching ASMR vids for years and they are hands-down one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever seen. I’d go as far as to say it has the ability to chill me out more than a massage and can often slow my ever-racing brain down a notch.

If you don’t know what ASMR is, it stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Some describe it as ‘tingles’, others as a ‘head orgasm’ but it’s not to be confused with anything sexual. While ASMR feels different for everyone, it can be characterised by a tickling, tingling sensation that runs along your scalp and the back of your head and neck as a result of seeing or hearing a ‘trigger’. It’s sorta like the feeling you get when someone gently tickles your arm lightly with their fingertips; goosebumpy in a good way.

This vid from the New Yorker explains it all way better than I can though… (post continues after vid)

What might ‘trigger’ a person into experiencing ASMR is different for everyone and YT is filled to the brim with vids that will help you find what works for you IF you have the ability to actually feel it, which not everyone does. I think this is part of the reason it feels so weird to admit it works for you – because it DOES seem a bit bizarro to say that watching a stranger speak softly into a microphone while demonstrating how to fold a towel puts you into a trance-like state. I showed my husband a vid I was watching once and he looked at me like I’d just told him I wanted to bang a horse or something.

People report feeling triggered by a massive range of stuff like eating sounds, tapping, whispering, scratching, personal attention role plays, page turning and water spray. While most of those don’t do anything for me, the ones I am drawn to involve watching someone do or create something while talking through it in a soft voice. The funny thing is, I can trace having this feeling back to when I was a little kid. I had a teacher who spoke in a really soothing, calm voice and when she used to talk us through how to do arts and crafts I remember getting that relaxed, almost hypnotic, feeling.

Research into why some people experience ASMR and others (like my husbo) thinks it’s totally off the register is ongoing, but some professors in psychology and neuroscience believe ASMR may be similar to synesthesia; a neurological condition where people see numbers in colour and “taste” in shapes. Psychology professor Stephen Smith believes that like in synesthesia, “there have been some studies that show there’s slightly atypical wiring in the brain that leads to slightly different sensory associations, and I think that may be the same thing we have here.”

Cardi B recently released a vid of herself doing ASMR for W Mag and it has gone gangbusters. Cardi says she watches ASMR every night as part of her nightly routine to help her sleep and like me, her husband thinks it’s “very strange and weird.” Take a look at Cardi’s vid below and I guarantee that within a minute you’ll either be uber relaxed or wondering what the hell your eyes and ears just saw while you slam your laptop down immediately.  Enjoy!

W have done a heap of vids featuring celebs doing ASMR interviews and if they don’t give you tingles, they’ll definitely give you the giggles from watching them try to keep a straight face while doing it…

Have you got our latest ep of Show+Telling in your ears yet? Have a listen below, then come and subscribe here for more!

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