De-stress by watching these YouTube videos. De-stress by watching these YouTube videos. De-stress by watching these YouTube videos. (Photo: CHAIWATPHOTOS / Shutterstock)

ASMR videos are the new meditation (melt your brain with these 5)

Hottest trend on YouTube: Listen to sounds that trigger tingles in your head and massage your brain. Really.

Does your brain need soothing? You're surfing online, so probably. We live in stressful times, and we can't all go to natural spring spas or yoga retreats (plus, some of us don't even like yoga). But we also live in innovative times (perhaps there's a connection), and people are coming up with new ways to relieve stress all the time – like really, really soothing sounds.

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a tingly, euphoric feeling you get under your skin that starts on your scalp and moves down your neck and back. You can trigger it with sounds and visuals, like whispering voices and repetitive noises. That's where increasingly popular ASMR videos come in: people are making videos to trigger these relaxing feelings. Videos involving ...

Scalp massages

"ASMR Darling," a woman from Florida with some really impressive braids and full eyelashes, gives you a scalp massage. Before playing the video, I knew this couldn't possibly work – how could she make it sound like she was all around me? But to my shock, it actually felt like the sounds were moving around my head – like they weren't just sounds, but sensations.

She brushes your hair, sprays it with a spray bottle and massages oil into your scalp (I never realized how pleasing it was to hear someone peel a sticker off a water bottle before). Definitely wear headphones for this; I doubt laptop speakers would have the same effect.

Creative writing

This tatooed Israeli woman has the most soothing voice I've ever heard. It's the kind of voice you would trust if she found you, said you were the only one who could save the world and told you to follow her. You'd follow her.

In her slow, deep voice, she reads creative writing and somehow manages to make the word "Denmark" sound mysterious.

'The Lord of the Rings'

This Scottish woman speaks so pleasantly, you don't even think about British monsters like Shrek while she's talking. At least, until she goes into her Gollum impression. Which is perfect, incidentally. She sounds exactly like a hobbit turned pathetic monster.

"Must have the precious," she whispers. "They stole it from us." It's not the most relaxing ASMR video, but it's pretty entertaining.

Crinkling paper

You're not sure why this Israeli person (you can't see their face) is picking up a piece of what looks like gift wrapping paper. Then they start crinkling it, and it all makes sense. Something about the crinkling, tapping and scratching sounds just feel like a massage for your brain.

This really simple video makes for pleasant background noise while you're doing other things.

Irish history

This Irish woman tells you in a soft whisper that Ireland's national languages are English and Gaelic, that tall, redhaired Celts assimilated into Ireland in ancient times and that the estimated population is about 4 million.

Kind of random, but it's a pretty good way to learn something new and chill at the same time.


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