What is ASMR and why’s it so great?

10 May 2018 - mindful living

If you’ve heard the term ‘ASMR’ mentioned multiple times and nodded along even though you had no idea what it was, you’re not alone.

What in the world is ASMR?

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is characterised by “a combination of positive feelings and a tingling sensation on the skin”. It’s most commonly triggered by auditory or visual stimuli, such as a video of someone preparing food, the sound of rain, listening to someone speaking softly or fire cackling. In other words, you won’t get it till you feel it.

ASMR is now a popular cultural phenomenon but its roots began informally in 2010, when a Facebook group was created to discuss the pleasurable and relaxing sensation of certain everyday sounds and things.

ASMR has most popularly become a video genre—search “ASMR” on YouTube and you’ll find millions of results, from cooking and singing videos to videos that help you sleep. ASMR has been featured in everything from a video genre exhibition in The Museum of Moving Image in New York to IKEA’s immersive 2017 campaign.

What’s so great about ASMR videos?

ASMR videos aren’t uncommon—you’ve probably already watched one without realising it. They tend to feature soft, relaxing everyday sounds and engage one or more of your senses. We’re drawn to the relaxing and calming stimuli and are immersed in the present moment, letting other thoughts or distractions fall away. The gentle, mundane sounds of the everyday suddenly become pleasurable because our attention is focused on them. The cooking video above is a perfect example of the strangely soothing nature of ASMR videos.

It’s no surprise that ASMR has been compared to meditation, and is used by many people to relax, de-stress or fall asleep.


Not sure where to start? Here’s your starter kit.

1. Peaceful Cuisine

Our favourite ASMR channel features the most calming cooking videos on the Internet. We never realised how soothing the sounds of stirring batter or pouring sugar are. The ASMR videos are marked “no sound”.

2. Sand Sleep Aid

Who knew sand could look and sound so relaxing?

3. Soap Carving

This got 14 million views on YouTube.

4. GentleWhispering

We had to include an ASMR whispering video because it’s probably the most popular type of ASMR video next to cooking. GentleWhispering’s channel is one of the most popular and this video is what started it all.

What are your favourite ASMR videos? Share them with us at hello@mindful-company.com.

- The Mindful Company