I’ve been trying to write this article for half an hour, but I’m struggling to wake myself from a sleepy, trance-like stupor after watching a woman open a box very, very slowly while whispering into the camera and tapping her fingernails on the table. If that sounds odd, it’s even odder to experience: my neck and ears are tingling and I could easily climb into bed for an impromptu nap. Luckily, there appears to be a simple reason for my brain’s reaction: like approximately 20 percent of the population I’m predispositioned to Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response or ASMR.
ASMR was coined by US developer Jennifer Allen in 2010 to describe a pleasurable physiological sensation induced by listening to certain sounds. This sensation has been branded a “brain orgasm” by some, but those who experience the phenomenon say the feeling is more relaxing than it is arousing. They compare it to the calming effect of meditation or massage.