Just what the ASMR community has been waiting for.
I'm watching a janitor mop. As he moves the bundle of the mop's head around the tiled floor monotonously, a wave of warmth bursts across my scalp, and as it slowly spreads, the feeling develops into a pleasurable tingling. It lasts for a few moments until the janitor disappears around the corner. As soon as the wonderful calm comes, it leaves.
For those who have experienced this euphoric bliss of spinal and cranial tingles, you won't find my story weird. I just get ASMR. That's Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, a pseudo-scientific term to describe deeply pleasurable head tingles and physical sensations that are caused by everyday stimuli and rituals.
ASMRers can achieve this kind of incomparable physical enjoyment from things like listening to wrappers crinkle, people whispering, during haircuts, or while watching a lecture. And if you're part of the subset of people who can have these types of sensations, you will be absolutely thrilled to hear there is going to be a new documentary about ASMR.
Though there is nothing inherently sexual about the physical feeling of having ASMR, for those who get it, the best way to describe the blissful state is by comparing it to another state of bodily gratification: orgasm. Which is where the title of the new documentary about ASMR, Braingasm, comes from. Filmmaker Lindsay Ragone seeks to explore the mystery phenomenon and the ardent internet fan base surrounding it.
The thriving ASMR internet community sprung up in 2009 with a Yahoo! group called Society of Sensationalists. Since then, blogs like The Unnamed Feeling, an ASMR subreddit, and a wealth of YouTube "trigger" videos have brought this sensation out of our heads and into the zeitgeist. The craziest thing about ASMR is that nobody really knows why some people get it and some don't. One researcher at Dartmouth College, Bryson Lochte, plans to perform brain scans on ASMRers this year as part of his graduating thesis.
What is known is that the good feeling without a name has built a community of welcoming, acceptance, and generosity around itself, to an extent that is unseen in other corners of the web. ASMRers spend hours filming and producing trigger videos – often those recreating moments when we are cared for and doted upon- for the selfless reason of helping others relax and feel blissed out. Don't know if you have ASMR yet? Triggers are diverse as people, but turn on the trailer to Braingasm, lay back, and wait for the tingles to wash over you.