Unintentional ASMR

Different types of unintentional ASMR

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What is Unintentional ASMR?

Unintentional ASMR is where you get an ASMR ‘trigger’ reaction to watching a video that was not made with any ASMR intent.

Examples of Unintentional ASMR are a Doctor demonstrating a cranial nerve examination, an interview, a painting being worked on, a car being cleaned or make up being applied.

A lot depends on how the content is delivered. So is it quiet, soft voiced, contains scratching sounds, have close personal attention or have a lot of touching in it. These are ideal actions for creating unintentional ASMR.

Sandwich Breath - Unintentional ASMR
Sandwich Breath – Unintentional ASMR

Unintentional ASMR Trends – 2019 to 2023

Over the last five years there has been a lot of interest in unintentional ASMR which peaked in June 2019 but saw a resurgence at the start of 2023.

Key unintentional ASMR topics are Medical, Physical Examination, Eye Examination and Alexander Technique. Most of the interest in this topic were from the UK, Canada and US.

This may be because of the common language for the topic and search term. But these are known to be high traffic levels ASMR countries.

Worldwide Unintentional ASMR Trends 2018 to 2023

Benefits of Unintentional ASMR

I n my experience I find that these are the main benefits of watching unintentional ASMR videos:

Sleep – they can help with my disturbed sleep patterns
Relaxation – helps me to de-stress
Calming – enables me to slow down
Quietness – brings me some peace into my life
Tingles – delivers very good quality ASMR tingles

Types of Unintentional ASMR

There are quite a lot of different types of unintentional videos so here are some of the ones that in my experience work best for me.

Painting – Unintentional ASMR

Bob Ross is the King of unintentional ASMR. Of course he was around a long time before YouTube and the current ASMR scene. But I remember him being on late night TV and often, well always, falling asleep to him talking about his paintings.

I was always fascinated with the phthalo blue colour. Such a weird name!

Most of you may well already know of Bob Ross and the format for his shows. But basically he takes you through the paint colours he going to use, what the painting is and then he slowly builds up and creates the painting. Always talking, quietly, his way through the explanation of his technique.

I suspect it is the combination of Bob’s great deep almost whispering voice, his slow delivery, his quietness and calmness. And align that with brush strokes and knife scrapes on the canvas and occasional brush slapping (beat the devil out of it!) and you have ideal conditions for unintentional ASMR.

ASMR Triggers from Painting

Brush strokes on canvas
Knife scrapes on canvas
Quiet voice
Brush cleaning
Brush slapping
‘Washing’ the canvas
Picking up the paint
Cutting the paint

Interviews– Unintentional ASMR

This interview with John Butler is a really good example of an interview which was mad for some spiritual guidance. And then gained wider recognition for its ASMR qualities. But it also had an impact on those watching for the ASMR, but loved the content! Win, win!

The format is fairly simple, a talking heads style interview with some video footage added to accompany it.

The main ASMR comes from the slow, quiet, soft and deliberate vocal delivery from John Butler himself. That’s it really. But it works very well as an ASMR trigger.

ASMR Triggers from Interviews

Close personal attention
Soft voiced
Slow vocal delivery
British or other accents

John Butler - Unintentional ASMR
John Butler – Unintentional ASMR

Cranial Nerve Test – Unintentional ASMR

This is where the classic ASMR ‘sandwich breath’ phrase was first heard!

This is perhaps one of the most famous of all unintentional ASMR videos And one of the best. Featuring Dr. James Kelly and ice hockey player Pat LaFontaine this is nine minutes of pure unintentional ASMR bliss.

Ostensibly a check up on Pat by the good Doctor it has many highlights but the most famous one is at 7:56 where Dr. Kelly says ‘I apologize for my sandwich breath‘.

Not a key ASMR point but one you will often see referenced in many other videos. And I am sure this is the video that launched a thousand other cranial nerve tests.

ASMR Triggers from a Cranial Nerve Test

Knee reflex test
Face touching
Eye test
Hand movements
Soft voice
Skin temperature testing
Tuning fork
Close personal attention

Cranial nerve test featuring Dr James Kelly and Pat LaFontaine
Cranial nerve test featuring Dr James Kelly and Pat LaFontaine

Medical Examination – Unintentional ASMR

Medical examinations are a staple of the ASMR video world. And the one we feature below is another very well know series of medical examinations.

Conducted by Dr. Hollie Berry these are great medical instruction videos in their own right. A series of her examinations and tests have ben strung together to create 34 minutes of pure unintentional ASMR videos.

Covering off in order there are two Lymph Gland examinations, a couple of Cardiac Examinations, Respiratory Examination and finally a Cranial Nerve Examination.

Medical Examination by Dr Hollie Berry- Unintentional ASMR

ASMR Triggers from a Medical Examination

Softly spoken
Close personal attention
Rubber gloves
Abdomen pressing
Hear rate monitoring

Feet examination
Spoken word repetition
Reflex testing
Skin stretching
Sensation testing
Hand movements
Tuning fork sensation testing
British Accent

Crafting – Unintentional ASMR

Any sort of craft making lends itself to unintentional ASMR genre. The close up detailed nature of the work, often done in a very quiet room or workshop, is likely to trigger an ASMR reaction.

The video below is for the process for sharpening a knife. So marking out the blade with a sharpie pen, using the file to sharpen. And then in the second video testing out the blade. Simple really!

ASMR Triggers from Crafting

Softly spoken
Close up detailed work
Hand movements
Scratching sounds
Filing sounds
Repetition of movements

Knife sharpening Unintentional ASMR
Knife sharpening Unintentional ASMR

Chiropractic – Unintentional ASMR

We see a lot of deliberate Chiropractic ASMR videos online. But they all started with some very unintentional ASMR Chiropractor videos.

The one we feature below is well know and has been viewed nearly 6 million times. It is fairly short at just under 11 minutes. But time is money no?

Anyway, despite some slightly awkward exchanges between the Chiropractor and her first time patient it has some of the classic ASMR elements we see in many of todays deliberate Chiropractor ASMR videos.

ASMR Triggers from unintentional Chiropractor videos

Reflex testing
Strength testing
Spine checking
Neck and leg examination
Patient interaction
X ray photos

Chiropractor Unintentional ASMR
Chiropractor Unintentional ASMR

Make Up – unintentional ASMR

With soft face touches, brushing and close personal attention Make Up is well known for its ASMR qualities. And there are lots of make up tutorials which also double up very nicely as unintentional ASMR videos as well.

We have used a classic, as in old, make up video as an example. This one from the 1908’s with all the dodgy VHS/Betamax video quality you would expect.

But it just shows of course that unintentional ASMR is nothing new and I would think a lot of people back in the day were getting triggered by this make up tutorial!

There is also a hair styling bonus at the end of the video. So if you are after that 80’s blow dry look you are in luck!

ASMR Triggers from Make Up

Applying moisturiser
Eye shadow
Eye liner/pencil
Mascara application
Eye lash curling
Blending foundation with fingertips
Patting with sponges
Patting in powder
Brushing in blusher
Pencil eyebrows
Pencil lips

Classic 80's unintentional ASMR make up video
Classic 80’s unintentional ASMR make up video

Alexander technique– Unintentional ASMR

I had to include this video of the Alexander Technique being taught as it pretty popular. And very purple!

This is someone being given their first introductory lesson into the Alexander Technique.

From an unintentional ASMR point of view it is the soft voice of the instructor and the very calm and measured way she delivers the lessons that work. She also has a very soft touch in her hands on approach. There is some very good back stroking and neck and shoulder adjustments.

ASMR Triggers from Alexander technique

Soft spoken
Back stroking
Back brushing
Neck adjustments
Hands on approach
Shoulder adjustments
Waist positioning

Unintentional ASMR Alexander Technique
Unintentional ASMR Alexander Technique

Before you go – here is a handpicked article just for you!

Additional unintentional videos to look out for are ones using hypnosis, alternative therapy and healing, in films, haircuts, palm readings and at the library.

If you are looking to chill out try our post on the best ASMR sleeping videos here.