I still get the same sensation watching massage videos on YouTube, especially hand massage for some reason. I also get it when I hear certain sounds. When Bryan is sick and has a super deep voice, the sound of him speaking makes my scalp literally tingle.
Apparently, this sensation has a name. ASMR: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
According to a relatively young website called www.asmr-research.org, these are some of the most common reported "triggers" for ASMR:
- Exposure to slow, accented, or unique speech patterns
- Viewing educational or instructive videos or lectures
- Experiencing a high empathetic or sympathetic reaction to an event
- Enjoying a piece of art or music
- Watching another person complete a task, often in a diligent, attentive manner - examples would be filling out a form, writing a check, going through a purse or bag, inspecting an item closely, etc.
- Close, personal attention from another person
- Haircuts, or other touch from another on head or back
If you do a search for ASMR on YouTube, the most common videos are whisper videos of people speaking in whispers about all kinds of topics, and "sound sculpture" videos of people drawing, flipping through pages, tapping their nails on a mirror, opening packages, playing with salt or rocks, or brushing their hair. Bob Ross videos are HUGE favorites; the combination of his gentle voice and paint brush sounds is delicious.
I suspect that Connor gets the same sensations. More than the other kids, Connor loves listening to a sleep meditation for children that we have, and sleep music involving certain sounds. He has excellent hearing, and usually hears things before we do. Sometimes he likes to share my headphones with me and watch ASMR videos. He especially likes the ones with pebbles, salt or sand.
There is a growing community of people online (especially young people, I'm noticing) who make videos for each other of them simply whispering and making up role plays and relaxations. My favorites are the soft spoken ones because my hearing is actually not that stellar and the whispers usually frustrate me.
If you are interested, here are my top relaxing ASMR videos. I have a play list with almost 50 videos in it, but these are the ones I watch/listen to the most. Any night I can listen to/watch at least one of these ends up a more restful night.
Gentlyspoken's voice is incomparable. If I have extreme insomnia or anxiety, his voice brings me into a deep state of relaxation 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time I've probably forgotten to take my meds.
I have three of whisperinginblue's videos on my list. I like to listen to this one when I have back pain, since it's an imaginary back rub. She has a very soothing voice.
I love all her videos. ALL OF THEM. This one causes the most tingles. People who know me the most know that getting my hair brushed or played with is one of my most favorite things on earth. ASMRMassage has a very relaxing voice, and this is 18 minutes of her brushing and playing with a friend's hair. Because she also describes everything she is doing, I don't necessarily have to watch it.
Connor likes watching this one with me. It's primarily a visual relaxation with some ambient sounds and her softly speaking. It sends tingles all up and down my spine.
Another fantastic visual. He takes paint brushes to the camera and pretends that you are a canvas. Instant tingles.
He whispers while tracing his hand with a pencil. It's strangely hypnotic.
SweetseductiveASMR runs her long nails over driftwood. This is one of those things where it doesn't seem like it should be relaxing, but it is for me. It makes my scalp and neck tingle every time, and signals to my body to become calm. I DON'T KNOW WHY. It is the mystery of ASMR.
There is also a website called http://www.soothetube.com/ that just has collections of these videos, including an entire category dedicated to Bob Ross. It includes some unintentionally relaxing videos, such as craft tutorials and even an ironing demonstration that just happen to be done with soft speech and relaxing movements.
Last, but not least, if you have itunes, you can download a free podcast from Meditation Oasis called "Sleep Meditation For Children" that Connor (who is 6 years old) absolutely loves. Sometimes he needs it played twice, but it never fails to help him fall asleep, ever, and usually he's out during the first 5-10 minutes because his body has become accustomed to falling asleep to its sounds. We have also started experimenting with different sleep music podcasts and he tells us if one seems to be working or not. If you have a child who sometimes can't fall asleep even when they're tired, give it a try.