A little stretching philosophy. Is stretching a means to an end (teleological) or an end in itself (aetiological)?

by | Feb 16, 2023 | General Stretching

Take a moment to read and think about these questions and your approach to stretching by reading the article below.

A teleological approach to stretching would view stretching as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. The end goal could be for example to improve functional movement, reduce the risk of injury and improve posture, as well as its role in reducing muscle soreness and tension. Stretching is viewed as a tool to help achieve these goals, rather than as an activity with its own inherent value. With this approach, the focus tends to be on technical aspects like proper technique, appropriate intensity, and specific targeting of muscle groups based on individual needs and goals.

In an aetiological approach, the focus is on the process of stretching and its intrinsic benefits, rather than just viewing it as a means to an end. This approach emphasizes the process of stretching as an opportunity for mindfulness, relaxation, and stress relief, and is valued for these benefits in and of themselves. With this approach, the focus can be on other interesting features of the experience like the workings of the mind itself, one’s particular response to challenges and how one relates to them, the mindful observation of the arising of impulses, or the feeling of muscle tension in the body for example.

In this approach, stretching is performed regularly and consistently, regardless of specific performance goals or injury prevention. It is not performed in order to “get it done” but rather, is approached as you would a game of tennis for example, where the goal is to enjoy the game as much as to finish the game.

At StretchFit, our approach is a respectful emphasis on both approaches, recognizing that each client has different goals and aspirations and that these can vary. Some days you just want to “get it done,” and others you feel more spacious and want to explore the experience a bit more.

Finally, do you think that anything is purely aetiological!? Plato, Aristotle, and Kant have much more to say on this subject for those of you who are curious!