Monday, March 15, 2010

Taking Names: What do we call these tingles, then?

I often call the sensation I feel “tingles” or “head tingles”, for some reason. It’s just a colloquialism or layman term so that others I describe it to online or offline might understand.

If you want to get scientific, there are several names or terms, and acronyms that can be used as well, so that it will be taken more seriously.

There’s AIHO, which stands for Attention Induced Head Orgasm. This was a term given on forums by a poster who reportedly got the sensation while having intercourse.

Others claim that it’s non-sexual, like me, and some were quick to keep the AI bit, but called it AIE instead. AIE stands for Attention Induced Euphoria, which is probably one of the favoured terms out there.

Then I added to that by calling it AIOEU, or Attention Induced Observant Euphoria. I wanted to include all the vowels in there ;). 

Why the “Attention Induced” bit though? Because when you literally pay attention to something like someone giving instructions, or talk about something, the sensation is caused by this, hence “Induced”, while paying attention, or by someone paying attention to you; being attentive. The Euphoria bit is the actual sensation that happens in various intensities for various lengths of time, and the “Observant” bit refers to the fact that I’ve read that we may all have the feeling, but only some are actually aware that we’re experiencing it. What I mean is that only some of us, a growing number of people though, seem to experience and actively try to search for reasons why we experience it. Others may not experience it as much, if at all, and it’s just an excepted response or feeling, like headaches (sometimes a side-effect of AIE).

Another term often used by the Facebook group ASMR, is just that: ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which has been further divided to include Type A and Type B.

Descriptions given by the ASMR Group on Facebook:

Type A: consciously controlled trigger of an ASMR event.
Type B: uncontrolled or externally triggered ASMR event.

Envelope goes further on elaborating on why she refers to this term as ASMR:

Autonomous - spontaneous, self-governing, within or without control
Sensory - of or pertaining to the senses or sensation
Meridian - peak, climax, a point of highest development: this is a kinder way of saying orgasmic :)
Response - because both type A and type B events are in response to something external or internal

Other terms possibly related to AIE, or whatever you wish to call it, that I’ve come across include 'Amygdala Clicking'. The amygdala, in the dictionary, is described as a small, almond-shaped piece of grey matter in each hemisphere of the brain, related to the sense of smell. Not sure why they picked this part of the brain, then.

Others have suggested that it’s similar to goosebumps. It’s not uncommon to get goosebumps or gooseflesh during the sensation, and the cold might well intensify the sensation, but goosebumps doesn’t cover the tingling sensation on the scalp, and sometimes on other parts of the body, including the extremities.

I’ve talked about it to some others, and they claim to get the same feeling when they’re scared. But I don’t think that’s the same thing You know that feeling when you get a shock or something and your skin crawls and it feels as though all the blood is draining from your face?

That’s not what AIE is.


  1. I have had this feeling for as long as i can remember. And for as long as i could remember i have been able to control it. It was faint at first....but as i got older it became more and more real....Recently i have been able to focus it into a particular part of my body...and even make it reavel to another...its getting really powerful nowadays. It's getting harder to shut it off than it is to get it going....holding it to long sometimes makes it feel like its going to bust out of my hands. I dont know if i should be Intrigued or scared....i have sent a request to join your facebook group...i want and need answers

  2. As long as it doesn't hurt. :)

    It's not my Facebook group BTW, but I am a member on there.

  3. awesome :) im from the facebook group and decided to google asmr just to see what came up and happy that this is getting out to the world :)

  4. It is, isn't it? Plenty of people who previously thought that they were alone in experiencing this are now becoming more connected with others.

    I'd like to see how this will develop over the coming years.

  5. anon dude, im assuming yer on the asmr f/book page, ive started writing an answer out for ya, let me know if ya need more "chat" about it ;)... its not at all to be feared....its to be loved ;) while yer in the strong stages, ya must enjoy it fully, get out in nature, listen to yer favourite music, stimulate yer mind with yer favourite profound movies, n let it paralyse you...literaly, give it so much love, it paralyses you ;)

  6. Wow. I'm so happy to have found this blog, and I'm joining the facebook group. No one I know experiences this sensation (and they think I'm crazy if I try to describe it, of course). But I knew I couldn't be the only one.

    For anyone who's interested, one of my favorite (and longest-lasting) triggers are some videos by Katrin Eismann on the adobe video workshop. Here's one:

  7. You're right about not being the only one. It seems to just be uncommon - not rare, really.

    People are usually just disinterested or confused if I try to talk to them about it. That's what the internet is for, after all. :)

    Thanks for the trigger link. I'll check it out soon and add it to the Sound and Video Clip Archive for those interested.

  8. Whenever I tried to describe the sensation to someone they wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about and found it odd. Not that I've told many people about it, just a few close friends. I told one friend that I love getting telemarketing calls because it brings the feeling on strong. She thought that was funny. I must be one of the only people who enjoys receiving such calls!

    1. Omg I always loved getting those calls too and I wondered what was happening to me. It's like being hypnotized or something and it feels sooooo good!

    2. Look up theonelilium on youtube. She has the best asmr whispering videos

  9. I find myself watching infomercials almost every weekday just to get the sensation.

    I hardly ever answer the home phone because if people want me they usually phone on the cellphone. I don't think I've had a telemarketing call for years.

  10. I'm glad that other people get this, too!! For me, it's brought on by the sound of whispering (have any of you discovered the whispering community of YouTube?) and strangely enough, by watching people play with each others hair. :D

  11. The amygdala is the "reptile" part of the brain that transmits emotion (fear, rage, joy, etc) that is then processed by the higher (mammalian) brain.

  12. I've had this for as long as I can remember, (I'm 13 now) and I always thought everyone had it. I told my friends, and they had no idea what I was talking about. I looked it up for answers. This is kinda cool... Do they know why it happens or why people get it?

  13. Im a creative type - very right brained

    I notice i get this sensation mostly when i hear very mystical or etherial music, usually at an intense emotional or powerful portion of a song. you know right around the the build-up point and climax... whenever the emotion and melody is just right.

    the sensation not only feels like tingling but almost a static electricity vapour. visually i would describe it as steam floating off / evaporating off a warm wet surface in winter.

    if i don't over think whats happening it stays and surrounds like a soft forcefield. i can feel this pleasurable vibration especially in the crown of the skull, temples, around the ears, neck and spine. An inside sensation is similar to the bliss after an orgasm.

    I have been able to amplify this sensation when i visualize this energy as an aura or a spiritual field (kind of like when you see a solar flare)

    i like to think that i am experiencing this feeling at the same time as others because they were affected by the same trigger ( when a song on the radio comes on - many other people are listening to the same thing at the same time... perhaps i am connecting with them and the "bliss" signal is being amplified and passed on)

  14. I get it with telemarketing calls too!! Or when I am cleaning someone's teeth (I am a dental hygienist)and they are texting or playing with their cell phone the entire time!

  15. i am so glad to have found this group! i have had this all my life and i never thought in a million years that other people have this same feeling! i am very creative and I'm empathetic so i wonder if there's a correlation.

    i usually get it when i...

    -get a haircut
    -get my nails done
    -get my face painted
    -watch Bob Ross
    -watch infomercials
    -watch cooking shows
    -watching people draw
    -watching people concentrate on something they aren't very good at
    -watch people paint
    -watch people put on makeup
    -hear some peoples calming voices
    -watch people pop pimples
    -watch the show How Its Made

    i have looked on youtube for videos that give me the sensation and here are some of my favorites!
    (mainly from 2:45 to 3:30)

    i will watch these videos over and over again to get the feeling!
    hopefully someone will put a name to all this=]

  16. This reminds me of a sensation that I get from time to time, but it doesn't seem to be quite the same thing.

    About two to ten times a year, I experience a strong euphoria, usually related to thinking about something and the interconnections of that with other things. Often its stimulated by something visual, as well.

    Sometimes I get a dysphoric versions as well.

    It's not a tingling sensation though, it's an impression of pressure, or intensity - sometimes with a feeling like a pure light is shining into my mind.

    Is this the same thing? Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

  17. I've been having a lot of brain problems so that's what I was searching for, but I found this site instead. I definitely can relate to this sensation. I watched the adobe video and knew instantly what it was you were talking about, and I also thought of Bob Ross and someone had already posted it. Sometimes I get it when I think the person that is talking to me is dumber than me. I keep listening even though I think what they are saying isn't the right information and I get tingles the whole time. Maybe its just that it relaxes me. ( actually some dumb people frighten me, so its not just that ).
    I've felt these sensations since elementary school. Don't remember them before that though.

  18. Cannot believe I found this. Have had these sensations since childhood, and I was sure others did too, although no one I knew could relate.

    I've spent years trying to analyze the feeling and understand more about it. I believe it comes on when an expert, or specialist is doing their work (usually physical) well, however as others have pointed out, it could also be triggered by voice, music, (talking to dumber people :P).

    It is difficult to bring on just on your own (but with practice and dedication it can be increasingly controlled), usually would take a trigger (a video/activity that brought it on before, i.e. massage video, haircut, etc.) In childhood it used to seem to happen sporadically and without warning. I'd be in class and would watch the teacher writing something in a slightly artistic or exaggerated way and it would be triggered. Or another student would start erasing his work furiously, but then instead of dusting it away, would rather blow it away. Seemingly random things like that. Or someone stirring a cup of coffee longer than expected.

    However, it seems that all have a few things in common. They are repetitive, they are performed slightly different than expectations, they are performed with interest, concentration or passion.

    This is the first article I've read. Will dive into the research now :)

  19. This is so cool. I have had this feeling all my life and, unlike most other people who get it, apparently, I always assumed that everyone got it. Just last night I was drawing with my brother and I referenced the feeling (because I was having it), and he didn't have any idea what I was talking about. He has Asperger's, so I thought maybe that had something to do with why he didn't get it, or maybe that he did actually did get it but wasn't quite following my description of it. Turns out I'm the unusual one, I guess!

    It's been eye-opening to find that this is not, in fact, a universal experience. I think it has to do with picking up on the "vibrations" of others when they are focused or relaxed. Some people can feel it, some people can't. Like when you turn your cable box off but leave the TV on; some people (like me) pick up on the electrical "vibe" immediately, and others are completely unaware of it.

    I love it when people read out loud or read over my shoulder. Bliss. :)

  20. For me, the feeling isn't in or on my head or face at all, but rather a pleasurable tingling in the back of my throat near my adam's apple. The triggers are the same as most people have described above, however (especially haircuts or other forms of personal, professional attention involving some level of skill). How cool that many people who experience this have reported higher than usual levels of empathy or creativity; I would also describe myself in those terms.

    This page makes me wish I was trained in a field of study that covered this phenomenon, and I would hope that one of our 'euphoric tingle'-feeling brethren will investigate it thoroughly at some point, along with its relationship to certain areas of brain activity. Could this feeling be the REASON that certain people WANT to learn or to give others the same feelings of pleasure?

  21. I've had this feeling for as long as I can remember and it was brought on by certain whispering in films, really slow speech - certain scenes of columbo when he is speaking quietly and slow and the Karate kid when Mr Miyagi is teaching daniel bonsai tree cutting - Once I start watching the feeling becomes quite addictive so I watch the same scene over and over again -

    Luckily I have found the ASMR community on youtube so there are more things to watch - Its strange feeling but it feels very relaxing like with goosebumps -

    Anyhow just thought I'd give my input -

  22. My first trigger was people touching/using my things. My first recollection of this was in 1st grade when someone used my pencil. I remember actually dropping my pencils so classmates would pick them up so that I could get the feeling again. I would also encourage friends and classmates to read my books, play with my toys, etc. so that I could watch them and enjoy the tingling through my head and body. I believe I tried to tell my mother about it and called it goosebumps, although this was so much more and different than goosebumps, it was the only way I knew to describe it. I remember also trying to tell friends about it because I thought surely someone else felt these same feelings. Nobody seemed to know what I was talking about and I felt they thought I was weird, so I stopped telling people or trying to talk about it.

    As I got older, I learned that I could also get these intense sensations from someone touching me. Just a slight touch brought it on, but longer touching made it even more intense to the point that I'm almost in a trance like state where everything else seems to melt away and I'm left with these intense feelings of pleasure and tingling beginning in my head and washing over other parts of my body in waves. Getting my hair cut is a trigger for me. My husband can caress my hand, or even just a finger, and these intense, pleasurable sensations travel throughout my body.

    Although I had long given up on finding someone who felt what I felt when people touched/used my things, I thought surely these feelings I was having via touch were normal and that everyone or most people felt them. However, after trying to get my husband to feel these sensations by touching him and having no luck at all, and then talking recently with a couple of friends who again did not understand what I was talking about and had experienced nothing like this, I started searching the internet and found this site. I thought especially the hair cutting thing was normal. I had heard friends refer to it as so relaxing. I assumed they were feeling what I was feeling, but upon closer discussion, I learned that was not the case. When they said relaxing, that is all it is to different than getting a massage on your scalp and your scalp feels good. No tingles, no sensations throughout their body.

    It's been really nice to find that I am not alone. However, after reading story after story, I've only found one other post from a person whose trigger was people touching their things. I have watched trigger videos to see if possibly I had other triggers that I simply did not know about, however, none of them worked for me, even when I tried my best to convince myself that the book the person was flipping pages in was indeed MY book. ;P

    Anyway, I am hoping to find more people whose trigger is only when people are touching their possessions. Because at this point, I've gone from feeling not so alone because of finding this wonderful site, but still feeling like I'm a bit of the "strange" one even here.

    1. No, you're not the only one. I spent half my childhood trying to get friends to look through my pencil case as it was just too rewarding. And it's still the same today, trying to get girlfriends to borrow my nail varnish or make up. It's not my only trigger, but it is one of them, although slightly more neglected these days. So yeah, don't worry, I have never talked to anyone about any of this as I just feel it's a bit too weird or perverted or something (though it is totally platonic and in no way triggers any sexual feelings - quite the opposite - it largely sends me to sleep!) so happy to read here exactly how un-alone/weird it is!

    2. Me too! Had this since I was very young; anyone touching my things would result in the tingling sensation, almost hypnotic.

  23. I was reading my psychology text book whenever I came across a peculiar experiment that caught my eye. The description reads in the book (Psychology in Action (8th Edition)) as follows:

    James Olds and Peter Milner were the first to note that electrically stimulating certain areas of the limbic system caused a "pleasure" response in rats. The feeling was apparently so rewarding that the rats would cross electrified grids, swim through water (which they normally avoid), and press a lever thousands of times until they collapsed from exhaustion--just to have this area of their brains stimulated. Follow-up studies found somewhat similar responses in other animals and even among human volunteers.

    I really feel like this might have something to do with it, I don't know how far you people have researched this phenomenon yet, but I hope this arouses some interest. Glad to see I'm not the only one with this strange ecstasy anyways.

  24. OMG I am feeling so incredibly validated right now! I have experienced this for as long as I can remember but have never been able to fully explain what it was that I was feeling or why certain things brought it on. I still dont fully "get" it, but I feel heard and understood. Thank you!

  25. For as long as I can remember, I've been able to control this "tingling" sensation. Its like the source of it all is in the back/bottom of my neck and fills up, then can be released on command, giving intense goosebumps and tingles. I'm at the point where I can now isolate the sensation and send it to whatever part of my body I want, which is pretty fun. I feel like it has to do with your body's energy and chakras, because whenI got an aura picture done, making the sensation made my aura explode with color. I feel like it's genetic because my dad is able to experience the same controlled sensations.

  26. I have been experiencing this phenomenon randomly throughout my life, albeit it has happened very rarely and is only triggered by certain people. I remember as a child, I used to ask one of my siblings, who shared a bedroom with me, to drum lightly on the wall with their fingers. This sound vibration triggered a euphoric sensation that would easily send me to blissful state of sleep. This same sensation also happens when certain people enter into my personal space. I seem to be 'euphorically responsive' to their presence. This non-sexual feeling is more intense if they touch me or move objects around me. It's a difficult sensation to describe to others. I believe it has something to do with a person's stimulative responsiveness to the frequency level of the vibration/energy emitted by another. ASMR may be considered a pseudoscience, but in the future I'm sure we will have a more valid explanation for this phenomenon.
    Like others, I have also been known to experience this when having a clipper haircut, someone drumming near me with drumsticks, ear, neck or shoulder touches from certain individuals. I am not however, responsive to online ASMR videos, although I do find them audibly soothing.

  27. I wonder if anyone can relate to this:
    Whenever I get my nails done, and they start cutting my cuticles, the most euphoric, intense feeling comes over me the whole time they are cutting my cuticles!! It is a very vibrant, physical feeling, mostly felt down my legs. It's like nothing else!!! It is so intense.
    It's not like an ASMR thing, because I do get ASMR effects only when listening to a live drum and bugle corp (marching band).... too weird! This is more of like a "head" feeling.

    Anyone have anything like this?


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