Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yet another wellness myth - stretching

We all know that you should stretch before and after exercise.

Turns out that this could well be just a myth. Apparently two thirds (or is it only one third?) of all medical beliefs or procedures are not backed up by rigors science. Turns out that stretching is not all it cracked up to be, as this newspaper article outlines.

On of the things that I learnt as a researcher is that on the surface things look well explained but as soon as you drill down for detail it rapidly becomes apparent that no body really knows.

This was first introduced to my at second year of physics and university. Up to this point we assumed that Newtonian physics was true. Newtonian physics is named after Newton, and explains things like projectile motion, things falling under gravity, forces on bridges etc etc. Well our bubble was popped. It became apparent that Newtonian physics didn't work on a small scale, nor did it work on a very large scale, in fact it didn't actually explain anything particularly well as it couldn't explain friction at a small level or things like air resistance. The "hard" data of even physics as a significant amount of hand waving and fudge factors, to make the data match reality.

Thus since medical and health issues develop over time, so people assume that the procedure has robust science behind it otherwise we wouldn't be doing it. Thus the myth perpetuates itself.

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