TikTok Is Obsessed With This Oddly Satisfying Foam Cutting Video

Often, when you see a video on TikTok or YouTube labeled "strangely satisfying" or "oddly satisfying," it is likely referring to a phenomenon called ASMR (and you might even see #ASMR as a hashtag on these videos). ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, and refers to the difficult to articulate feeling that many people (but not all people) experience when hearing certain sounds or encountering certain visual or sensory stimuli (via VOX). 

If you have ever felt strangely, suddenly relaxed while watching a video of someone cutting soap or tapping their nails on a microphone, you might have experienced this response. If someone running their fingernails through your hair or crinkling paper near your ear results in a pleasurable tingly feeling in your scalp along with a calming feeling, you may have also experienced ASMR. Some even say these videos help them fall immediately to sleep.  

Videos that elicit this response from viewers often tend to go viral, and a recent TikTok video of someone slicing through florist foam is among them.  

Why a video of cutting foam is so satisfying

The video, posted by an account titled Oddly Satisfying, features a hand using a small tool to simply cut long, shallow grooves into a block of florist foam. That's it. Yet, it currently has nearly half a million views and thousands of comments and shares. And we will admit, while writing this post, we definitely watched the video several times in a row ourselves; it really is oddly satisfying! 

The discovery of ASMR is only a decade old, and as such, researchers are still just beginning to scratch the surface (pun slightly intended) of the potential involved in this phenomenon (via The News Minute). Anecdotally, many say it helps alleviate anxiety, insomnia, stress, and tension, so the possibilities of utilizing it in clinical treatments seem promising. 

Interestingly, people's brains response similarly to ASMR stimuli as they do to real-life situations like getting positive and personal attention from care-givers like hairdressers, spa employees, teachers, clinicians, or family members, and from things like having a friend braid your hair. Something about the focused attention from a caring individual, a soft speaking voice, and light touch causes deep relaxation for many people, the same way that watching ASMR videos can.