6.29.2013

Finding Sleep: Discovering ASMR

Courtesy of Hasslefreeclipart.com
My husband used to rub my ears to put himself to sleep. He also played with my hair and ever-so lightly caressed my skin. After he passed, I mentioned to a few people that feeling him touch me was as simple as closing my eyes and imagining it (though getting myself into the right state of mind and emotion to do so was not so simple.) I assumed it was something like a body- or physical memory and worked much like thinking about my injury would cause an ache in my once broken clavicle long after it healed. I also assumed everybody could do this. Some people assumed I was a little... off. Heh. Turns out, there's a thing:

 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.
I knew nothing about ASMR until I went searching for new relaxation techniques (to sleep) and discovered Type B:
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 ASMR triggers are haircuts (which always make me want to nap), certain speech patterns and voices, watching slow, purposeful movement, etc. (The website linked above offers a list.) Apparently, there is an entire ASMR community on YouTube made up of people who make various types of videos for the sole purpose of triggering someone else's ASMR (to get their tingles on, to relax, and often to sleep.) Sadly:
Some people, it seems, simply aren't susceptible, whilst others (like myself) are highly sensitive to its effects. For those that cannot experience this phenomenon, I am truly sorry for you. Seriously. You poor bastards. Nicholas Tuffnell: ASMR: Orgasms for Your Brain
While some like scalp massage role playing videos, or the soft whispering videos, or various other kinds, the otherwise silent scratching videos fairly quickly knock me out:

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