Six Triggers On YouTube

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Like a lot of ASMR experiencers, I stumbled onto the online whisper community and their trigger videos by accident although I was more or less “involved” from the very beginning. Ever since Connie gave me that biofeedback tape, I was on the lookout for material that could cause the same relaxation response inside of me. I would seek out relaxation tapes/CDs at my local bookstore and at the library, but the selection was often limited.

I can’t pinpoint when I first turned to YouTube in search of relaxation videos, but I can say that my search to find something to settle my brain intensified in 2008 with the passing of my mom. If you have never lost your last parent, then you cannot imagine the desperate feeling of loss that comes along with it. I felt alone in the world. I couldn’t sleep. My entire biological schedule was turned around and I struggled to get used to the new “normal” of being an orphan. As I suspected, there were a lot of videos to choose from including self-hypnosis, guided visualization, meditations, affirmations, etc. but many I sampled had music that distracted me, poor sound quality and vocals that grated on my nerves rather than soothed them

Frustrated, I noticed a strange looking video in my suggestion queue that promised a whispered hypnotic video for sleep. Is that what I think it is? I wondered

Morbid curiosity possessed me to click on it and before I knew what was happening, I was staring at a young woman who was sitting on her bed whispering at her camera. “What in the world?” I mumbled confused as to what I was watching.

Every molecule in my body told me to exit the video, but I couldn’t. There was something strangely compelling about it. Suddenly my queue was full of “whisper videos” as well as videos that promised clicks, taps, hair brushing and an assortment of other noises.

Though some people may have thought me crazy, I was like a kid in a candy store. I had no idea why these people had made these videos or exactly what the intended point of them was, but it was as though the person behind them knew instinctively what would work on me. Was it possible that they felt it too and actually made videos to create that feeling?

It appeared so. After several days of exploring this new medium, I found videos that actually mentioned the brain tingles I had felt over the years. It was wonderful to be validated by something I hadn’t talked about with anyone before. I mentioned what I had found to my husband and was surprised to learn that he had no clue what I was talking about. I mentioned the Alphabet Game, hair brushing and other activities that had put me to sleep in hopes that he could commiserate, but he said he’d never felt it.

“Oh come on,” I said, convinced he was pulling my leg. “You’ve never felt a weird tingly sensation in your scalp that’s kind of like goose bumps but…not?”

“Never,” he promised, shaking his head.

Later on I showed him one of the videos I had been watching. I can’t remember who made it now, but it was of an unseen person brushing their hair. He seemed a little perplexed by my new source of entertainment.

“Let me get this straight,” he said. “You watch this to get a funny feeling in the back of your head and then fall asleep to it.”

“Well….yeah,” I commented. “I don’t know, it’s as if when they do it to themselves, I can imagine what it would feel like if they were doing it to me.”

He took a deep breath. “Well, there’s nothing odd about watching someone on YouTube brush their hair, I guess. So, does this feeling have a name?”

“Not really. A lot of people just call it the ‘head tingles.’”

He stifled a laugh. “Well, here’s hoping that they come up with something more official than that in the future.”

Until next time, tingle on!



Julie Young
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