For as long as I can remember, I have always experienced a tingly feeling in my back, neck and head when watching people carry out certain tasks. For example, when my teacher used to mark my work in front of me or my Grandad would sign cheques in shops. I always liked the feeling and would sometimes go into a trance or feel super relaxed but it is only in the last 3 years or so that I realised that it was a ‘thing’.
That thing is called ASMR. Or, Autonomous, Sensory, Meridian, Response. I know wikipedia isn’t the most reliable source of information but it does cover ASMR pretty well so here’s a link for more information:
I discovered its true meaning through YouTube! There is a whole world of ASMRtists on YouTube making videos specifically designed to give people the tingles and relaxation of ASMR. I have recently started making my own videos and watch ASMR videos every single night and have done since I discovered them!
My absolute favourite ASMR artist is Emma from Whispers Red ASMR. She has the most beautiful personality and I instantly warmed to her as a viewer, and as such am the most relaxed by her content. So, it seemed only right that if I was going to do a post on ASMR here on my website, I had to include Emma.
With over 150,000 subscribers, Emma has one of the biggest and best ASMR channels on the platform and I was so pleased that she was kind enough to answer my questions on ASMR and I’m so excited to be able to feature her! I will of course include the link to her channel so you can feel the magic too 🙂
I decided to post the interview in Q&A format as I believe it’ll be easier for you to follow – but I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading!
Love, Emma xx
1. Would you say that ASMR has changed your life for the better both in your everyday life as well as youtube wise? If so, how?
ASMR has had a big impact on my life both day to day and then through YouTube. I have experienced the sensation as long as I can remember and it has always been a calming influence. It has contributed to a rich inner life as I remember drifting off many times as a child, in my own world tingling away to sounds in the background. Later on in life making videos on YouTube has been an enlightening experience. It allows me to communicate with others like me and express myself in ways I have never been able to. It’s a wonderful thing and affects every part of my life. I am much more content and confident in myself since starting the channel.
2. Do you believe that ASMR goes beyond being an enjoyable experience to something which can actually help to heal people for example after traumatic experiences, tinnitus sufferers and anxiety sufferers?
I think that ASMR videos and the sensation they create is primarily a healing experience on many levels. From simply triggering the tingles which are very soothing to providing company and support at times of stress, ASMR enables us to heal ourselves. It’s very powerful in that respect.
3. How did you discover ASMR initially and how young do you think it is possible to experience it – I have a 5 month old nephew who goes very quiet and calm and I’m wondering whether babies might also benefit from ASMR. I first experienced ASMR when I watched my Grandfather writing a cheque in a shop!
As far as the sensation goes I have always been aware of the tingles. I don’t remember a first experience, just many instances. I absolutely loved it but never understood what it was or that others felt it too. It took me till 2012 to actually discover that people make videos to trigger it on YouTube. Realising that others feel the same as me and there is a community online was an amazing discovery for me. My feeling is that we are all born with the ability to feel the sensation and if you are naturally inclined to be a sensitive person you will begin to be aware of it around age 5. It’s an age where we begin to notice ourselves and our place in the world a little more. I’m sure your little nephew is having a lovely time tingling away and with you as an aunty to give him little back tickles and whispers in the ear he will keep it up!
4. Can you see ASMR ever becoming a form of therapy perhaps working alongside a real-life therapist – like the ASMR spa videos which you make but where patients can physically go for treatment; for example to have their hair brushed?
Absolutely! I believe we are very close to real life ASMR treatments. I hope to have a hand in engineering this as I’d love to see it happen. I am currently studying sound therapy myself with a view to seeing how other therapies work with sound and hopefully I can incorporate this into the videos and then into a treatment.
5. I actually cannot give myself ASMR, do you think there is a reason for this or if it is common?
Every ASMRtist I know says they don’t get tingles from anything they produce themselves. It’s very rare to tingle along to your own videos when editing. I think it’s a combination of the concentration required and the fact that you know what’s coming. There are people who can trigger themselves in day to day life, I used to do it a lot. I would pick up on a sound in the room and drift off to it and once the tingles came I would notice them and keep them going for longer. However since I have discovered the videos, this is increasingly harder to do. I work with ASMR every day of the week now so it’s a kind of overkill for me! There is also the element of being nurtured by another to bring on the sensation which of course we are unable to alone.
6. I love the positivity which is spread with the ASMR community and I feel particularly drawn to your personality when I am choosing which ASMRtist to watch. Can you see the community ever extending to the point where ‘sensations’ like Zoe Sugg are actually seen as ‘celebrities’ and host meet ups? I would personally love to meet you and other artists and believe it would enhance the support network which we already see online.
Thank you Emma, I appreciate that a lot as it’s important to me to be honest and ‘myself’ in each video so I am glad you can see that. It’s an interesting point for sure as it makes me wonder a lot about the future of ASMR content creators. My feeling is that the majority of the people I know who are dedicated to their channels and put a lot of work into ASMR are by nature very sensitive and humble people. It’s generally a characteristic of those that experience it I find. Therefore it’s hard for me to see these people become ‘celebrities’ like those we see a lot of these days. Most of us are driven by the therapy aspect of ASMR than personal gain, It’s lovely to earn something out of what you love but especially for those who have been around for a long time it’s not the driving force. There is a fair amount of self promotion involved in becoming a ‘sensation’ and I’m not sure personally if I would have that in me. I find it hard enough to pick thumbnails and use keywords in video titles and don’t get me started on how hard it was to write an ‘about me’ page for my website or even make a website! I am able to get my head around all of that because I know how valuable ASMR videos are to those that use them, including myself. It’s a huge privilege for me to be able to show people that there is name for their feeling and spread some love around. In short I think you are right but my feeling is that ASMR itself should become more popular for the positivity of the community to spread rather than the people that make the videos. I have never felt that my channel is about me specifically and believe more that I am a vessel or conduit for tingles and kindness. I feel that we’re all one and part of a much bigger picture.