Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Does Your Scalp Tingle Sometimes? Unraveling the ASMR mystery.

A few months ago I shared a link on my Facebook page about that special tingly feeling that one gets at certain times.  It usually starts in the scalp, and moves down the body in response to specific stimuli. It's extremely pleasant. It reminds me of the warm, happy feeling I get from muscle relaxers times 100.  Many of my friends responded to the post with a "I have that, too!" Most didn't know that it had a name. In fact it does- Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response I didn't think much of it at the time. I did put it on my mental list of 'things to research later' which is already years long.

Fast forward to a couple months ago when I was composing the blog post about General Anxiety Disorder. One of the things that I listed to help was meditation videos. I went to youtube to find some of the best examples of these that I could find for me readers, and BAM. I stumbled upon ASMR videos. This happy sensation that I get when I watch certain people talk, or hear certain noises, and most especially when I get a massage was easily accessible via hundreds (if not thousands) of videos online.

There is not much known about ASMR, and why it affects people the way it does. Even more surprising than that is not everybody can feel it. I always assumed everyone was able to have that sensation just like I was. There is still a lot of research being done about ASMR. Some say they're still trying to validate it, because scientifically it's still not really been verified. Much like synesthesia was years ago, there are still some people that deny it exists. I really am not sure how one verifies a feeling. If a ton of people report a physical sensation then I would have to say it does indeed exist. We're not assuming paranormal explanations for this phenomenon. It is simply like being ticklish. Either you are, or you're not. Either your nervous system is capable of this phenomenon, or it isn't. There is nothing hokey about it.

So what is ASMR specifically?
Here is an excerpt from ASMR Research & Support

   "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a physical sensation characterized by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp, and often moves down the spine and through the limbs.

Most ASMR episodes begin by an external or internal trigger, and are so divided for classification. Type A episodes are elicited by the experiencer using no external stimuli, and are typically achieved by specific thought patterns unique to the individual. Type B episodes are triggered involuntarily by an external trigger, via one or more senses, and may also involve specific thought patterns associated with the triggering event. Both types of triggers vary between individuals, but many are common to a large portion of ASMR enjoyers.
Common external triggers:
  • Exposure to slow, accented, or unique speech patterns
  • Viewing educational or instructive videos or lectures
  • Experiencing a high empathetic or sympathetic reaction to an event
  • Enjoying a piece of art or music
  • Watching another person complete a task, often in a diligent, attentive manner - examples would be filling out a form, writing a check, going through a purse or bag, inspecting an item closely, etc.
  • Close, personal attention from another person
  • Haircuts, or other touch from another on head or back"

Does any of that seem familiar? If so, please leave a comment below.  I am also wondering if this state is something that people on the spectrum have more than the rest of the population (much like synesthesia) or if it doesn't seem to correlate one way or another.

In case you're not sure here are a few videos that have popular ASMR "triggers" in them. Let me know which one worked for you, if any.

And, my favorite of all:


  1. I am also surprised that many people can't feel this. It is one of my favourite sensations and I get it very often. The easiest way to get it is to have someone touch my hair. But it happens very often when I read something beautiful, or when I listen to music. Poetry is a big trigger, I have a selection of poems that I can trust to let this happen every time I read them. I can also make it happen deliberately by thinking certain thougths, and imagining touch or dialogue or something happening. I love it!

  2. i have this too and i was having it so frequently a couple of months ago that i was wondering if there wasnt something wrong with me! LOL this gives me some ease on that count..

    its very strange. sometimes its actually annoying. i havent figured out what causes the random ones, but pleasant things can cause it too. sometimes they just come "out of nowhere" or so it seems. so, ill have to start paying more attention! this is very interesting to me!

  3. Some of mine are odd, and seemingly out of nowhere, too. Sales people calling me is one big one, even though I do not interpret their presence to be a positive thing, but more of a nuisance. Tutorials are another one I especially like.

    1. I get it from sales calls, too. Even though I feel manipulated, I often let them complete their ramble because the tingles or so pleasant. I thought I was a freak because of this! Maybe I still am, but at least I'm not the only one!

    2. I get it from sales calls, too. Even though I feel manipulated, I often let them complete their ramble because the tingles or so pleasant. I thought I was a freak because of this! Maybe I still am, but at least I'm not the only one!

    3. You certainly are not! There is a whole community out there I never knew about who are like us! Yay for the internet!


If you'd like to follow all comments to this post, please click the 'subscribe by email' link under the comment box. I always reply to every post, and appreciate all feedback. If you have issues getting your comment to post you can email me your comment at inneraspie@yahoo.com. Blogger sometimes loses a comment when the user goes to post, so it is always advisable to highlight and copy your text before hitting the post button.