The theory about the hot water increasing the circulation is correct and using a hot tub would be appropriate after the acute stage of injury (post marathon). The reason that hot water is not recommended for the 24 hours after a marathon is the vasodilation can increase the muscle damage. The acute inflamatatory response works as a postive feeback loop, and the heat will increase the cascade reaction. In short, the heat will icrease the damage to the muscles by increasing the effects of DOMS.
The best (theoretical) recovery for after a marathon would be to ice, followeb a short walk and by a light massage to help flush the lactic acid out of the muscles. I wonder about the logic of heat right after the marathon? The training room nmenomic for acute injuries is RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. That's the effect of the cold water bath, the I and C part of the equation. Perhaps the water you are using is too cold? The best temperature is between 58-62 degrees, with light activity during the bath. I've found that swimming works very well after both my marathons and my long runs. And no, I have not done nearly as many marathons as you, and yes, I am a PT student.
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