Skip to main content

ASMR: What Is This Tingling Sensation in My Head?

Anti-Valentine is the webmaster of The Unnamed Feeling blog, helped form the ASMR community, and assist in research and media relations.

The Unnamed Feeling…

When I was a young boy, I remember having these experiences where I would listen to the radio on the bed. I would have my head pressed right up against it as I lay there, taking in every word—to the point where it actually left deep grooves in the side of my head (they went away eventually, don’t worry.)

I also clearly remember when I was about eight or so, sitting outside in the sun on the back porch, near the pool, listening to the old gardener we used to have years ago whistle while he worked. I was just so caught up in the moment and had these intense tingling sensations just flow from my head.

This was the beginning of a life-long journey that would bring me to my most recent discoveries, and attempts to try to get behind the origin of this seemingly undocumented phenomenon—something that I had taken for granted for years, and hadn’t known if anyone else had ever experienced the same feeling.

I continued to have these sensations throughout my childhood, my teenage years, and in to adulthood. It was only in 2009 that I searched for something related for the first time online, even though I had the internet for years, and came across a forum where people were discussing this exact thing; a strange, but pleasurable feeling that felt like tingles in the head—which some described as akin to an orgasm or perhaps being on a high after recreational drug use. Some addicts who also experience these sensations claim it even rivals ecstasy as far as the effects are concerned.

I naturally read through this two-part series of threads where people talked about it and gave their opinions on what it was, as well as what caused it. Not only that but I began to search for other threads similar in topic, and also began to actively try and experience this sensation more and more often. One thing I did was to start collecting audio clips, watch video clips online, listen to the radio, and watch certain programs on TV that were dead certs—that is to say, guaranteed to create this head tingling sensation.

ASMR and Other Terms

I started to plan a blog, which I felt would be part of a pioneering effort in a niche which had up to that point been untapped—or so it seemed. It was early in 2010 that I finally unleashed The Unnamed Feeling blog upon the internet; a blog that is dedicated to news, commentary, theories, and the sharing of stories regarding my experiences with this phenomenon. This unexplained thing first became known as AIHO (Attention-Induced Head Orgasm), then AIE (Attention-Induced Euphoria)—for those looking for a less sexual approach. Several other acronyms came about like ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response)—probably one of the most widely used. Some casual or humourous terms for it include braingasms, headgasms, and WHS (Weird Head Sensation.)

"I remember when I was eight, sitting outside near the pool, listening to the old gardener whistle while he worked. I was just so caught up in the moment, and had these intense tingling sensations just flow from my head."

ASMR Triggers

So how do you know if you happen to experience ASMR? A number of causes or triggers are shared by people, which I will list here. If you happen to have anything in common with these, then you might be an experiencer of ASMR.

  • Listening to specific people talk (usually soft-spoken or well-spoken voices or whispers.)
  • Listening to the radio or podcasts when these people are talking.
  • Watching certain TV programs or YouTube videos, like instructional ones, infomercials, adverts, historical or factual programs.
  • People talking in a foreign or indigenous language, other than your own.
  • Getting tickled lightly, especially on the back or shoulders.
Scroll to Continue

Read More From Remedygrove

  • When someone strokes or plays with your hair softly.
  • Having your hair washed and cut at a salon.
  • When you listen to certain soft or distant, and usually repetitive, sounds like a bouncing tennis ball, trickling water, or construction noises like tapping hammers.
  • Listening to certain types of music—perhaps ambient or industrial for instance, or songs with soft lyrics.
  • Watching someone draw a picture, paint, or build something, perhaps like a sculpture or even a card tower.
  • Watching someone write.
  • Someone drawing on your body.
  • People reading a newspaper over your shoulder.
  • People looking for something in their handbags.
  • Someone doing something very slowly and carefully.
  • People working at computers; perhaps the sound of keys being tapped or the click of a mouse.
  • Listening to someone chew gum.
  • Someone using sign language, or signing.
  • People whispering.
  • Listening to elderly people talk—the slow, methodical way they speak.
  • Listening to strangers talk, rather than family or friends and more well-known individuals in one’s life.
  • From reading various pieces of reading material.
  • Someone showing you how to do something.
  • Someone clipping their nails or using a nail file.
Some sceptics claim that ASMR is nothing more than goosebumps.

Some sceptics claim that ASMR is nothing more than goosebumps.