A Newbie’s Guide to ASMR

ASMR Girl sleeping with headphones on the bed

In February of 2010, Jennifer Allen, a cybersecurity professional residing in New York, coined the term ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response'(ASMR), formally naming a phenomenon that, it’s pretty safe to say, has been around from time immemorial.

Before then several terms had been used both formally and colloquially to describe a sensation that most people have felt in their lifetime (likely quite often), Attention Induced Head Orgasm, Attention Induced Euphoria, brain massage, spine tingle, head tingle, brain orgasm.

What is ASMR (Meaning of)?

At this point you’re probably wondering what exactly this sensation is.

Well, remember the times you’ve felt a deeply relaxing tingling sensation (very much like a light electrical current) flow from your head, down to your neck, spine and the rest of your body? If so, you’ve experienced ASMR.

If not, simply described, ASMR is a variety of pleasurable sensations experienced by the body due to a range of gentle stimuli. Contrary to what some of the earlier names above would suggest, ASMR is usually non-sexual in nature.

Common ASMR Triggers (Stimuli)

ASMR can be internally triggered (Type A ASMR) or externally triggered (Type B ASMR).

With both types of ASMR, the triggers are incredibly wide ranging, from acoustic (sounds), to visual cues and tender physical contact.

As varied as the triggers are they share some common traits, such as; being repetitive, gentle, methodical, low and steady in volume.

Some examples of ASMR triggers are,

  • Listening to a softly spoken or whispering voice.
  • Quiet repetitive sounds from normal everyday tasks, eg someone turning the pages of a book.
  • Receiving tender physical contact,eg, head massage, haircut, grooming.
  • Eye contact, watching body movements, especially hand movements.
  • Tapping sounds, cutting, crinkling, etc.

For the majority of people prone to ASMR, even watching a recording of any of the above stimuli is enough to trigger ASMR.

Head Massager Tool

It’s very difficult to explain the sensation one gets from ASMR to non-experienced people. One of the best ways to explain it is by using a head massager tool. More particularly the Orgasmatron, also known as the Spider or Tingler.

Probably everyone has seen or maybe even tried this device at some point or another as it dates back from before there even was talk about ASMR.

Using the device is very simple. You gently move it over your head and you can even go as low as the back of your neck. This results in a tingling feeling that can be quite relaxing.

girl uses head massager spider

Why Is ASMR Important?

Before 2007 not too many people were concerned about ASMR. It wasn’t until a 21-year-old registered user of a health-related discussion website posted a thread about having experienced a ‘certain sensation’ from childhood that people began to come forward with their own anecdotes.

From that thread, interest in ASMR was piqued; analysis, studies and investigations began on the subject leading to much of what is known today.

While the physical sensation of ASMR is undeniably pleasurable, a lot of the psychological effects are still being uncovered.

With that being said many people tend to agree that the effects of ASMR on an individual are calming, euphoric, causing deep satisfaction, enjoyment and sleepiness whenever felt. This has led to the explosion of people using the effects of ASMR to combat insomnia, anxiety attacks, etc.

As the effects of ASMR become more and more well known, people have taken to creating ASMR inducing content, exhibited by the ever increasing number of videos and audio recordings on platforms such as Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud. Such is their popularity that ASMR content creators have even been specially named ASMRtists (ASMR artists).

Binaural Effect and Headphones

In broad terms, this is the experience of three dimensionality on a recording by a listener (think soundstage). Strictly speaking, the binaural effect is not only limited to ASMR but sound and music recording as a whole.

The binaural effect leaves the listener with the feeling of being in very close proximity to the vocalist on the recording. This means for those who need the effects of induced ASMR to combat anxiety or insomnia the binaural effect is invaluable as it amplifies those effects.

Now, of course, binaural recordings are made to be listened to via headphones rather than speakers and therefore to get the full benefits you’ll need to purchase a good pair of headphones.

If you’re going to be using the effects of ASMR to combat insomnia, like the majority of people do, then you should consider investing in a pair of good sleep headphones to ensure you get the best of both worlds.

Best ASMR Sources


Looking for kindred spirits, find out more information and listen to personal experiences? There’s lots to be found on Reddit. Here are some of the more popular subreddits.


If you want video AND sound, there’s no better place to get your daily dose of ASMR, than on Youtube.


Ideal for relaxing on the couch or trying to get to sleep, Spotify has got an excellent ASMR selection featuring complete albums and selected playlists.




As a relatively new phenomenon to the study halls of the world, ASMR is still in the discovery stage of the true depths of its effects.

What is currently known, however, is enough to push it to the forefront of effective insomnia and anxiety treatments.

As for triggers, there is no end to those, so if you haven’t experienced it yet, play around with a few different types of stimuli online until you find what works best for you and enjoy that spine tingling orgasmic feeling.

If you happen to have any questions or even tips you want to share, then let me know in the comments below!

I am by no means an expert in ASMR, but I do find the subject very interesting and intriguing. Therefore this article has been written purely out of interest in the matter and because of the relationship between ASMR and headphones.


  1. John May 12, 2018
  2. Mike November 30, 2017
    • Jurgen November 30, 2017
  3. Richard November 30, 2017
  4. Geno November 29, 2017
    • Jurgen November 29, 2017

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