What is ASMR?

Ben Gray ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

As the semester comes and goes, a stress reliever is what a college student needs most. At a time where some aimlessly flip through textbooks or organize study sessions that are doomed to fail, many are able to take a break from the surrounding mayhem and it’s all thanks to YouTube.

The phrase is “ASMR”, or more specifically, autonomous sensory meridian response. Sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, right? Well it’s a bit more than that. It’s the feeling of so called “tingles” in your brain. The feeling that begins at your scalp and leisurely moves down to your back. However, it disappears eventually. It can be trigged by a variety of things. Whether it is a whispering voice, someone tapping a wooden surface or even someone brushing someone else’s hair.

That’s where ASMR videos come in. Certain YouTubers, or known through the community as “ASMRtists”, create and post videos to trigger the feeling in their audience. ASMRtists whisper, chew gum, speak softly or don’t even speak at all in order for their audience to get those tingling feeling. Some videos even run as long as two hours. Additionally, if you find yourself triggered by something specific, chances are it’s posted. For example, searching the phrase “ASMR pokemon” yields around 70,900 results.

These content creators have even made a living off of their videos like many YouTubers producing different types of videos. ASMRtist GentleWhispering, or known more commonly as Maria, has over 280,000 subscribers. Back in 2012, she set up a paypal account for her audience to donate in order for her to post better quality videos. Its safe to assume that it has worked. Looking at her videos from 2011, Maria has successfully transformed into ,what some call her, “the Queen of ASMR”.

However, it doesn’t just stop at Maria. There are plenty more content creators who are putting in as much effort and craft into their videos. This includes “Ephemeral Rift”, who has over 80,000 subscribers and 537 videos. His ASMR videos can be identified as unique and quirky compared to his fellow creators. In one video, he wears a green body wrapper and rummages through a box of items, occasionally scratching or tapping.  While in another, he cracks open a beer and chats with his audience as if they were there.

Since 2011, the Google trend of ASMR has gone drastically upward. Many have become more and more intrigued on the subject. Some ASMRtists have addressed their increasing popularity, assuring their audience that the quality of their videos will not change.  However, the more attention the better, correct? Not according to some viewers who have become disquieted as the subscriber count increases.

Relieving stress is necessary in such a stressful world; luckily, these ASMRtists do their best to ease that feeling. Although ASMR videos may not be for everyone, they are definitely worth trying out and hopefully more people can find solace where others already have.


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  1. Great article! Thanks for spreading the word. Unfortunately for me, I’ve spent the last two hours watching ASMR videos instead of writing my final papers. I’m still kind of stressed, but the videos definitely helped.

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