Thursday, February 4, 2010

Word of the week- idromassaggio

Like many of you, around January, I got a gym membership. So far I've been very satisfied with my club, which is urban but built around a central courtyard. I mostly swim in the indoor pool, and I can do the breastroke (rana or "frog") and the backstroke (dorso or "back") while watching the snowflakes fall outside. Sweet, and a partial compensation for our rigid New England winter.

After my swim, I always go to the jacuzzi. Now, the jacuzzi, despite being named for the Italian family that created it, is not (usually) called that in Italy. They call it an idromassaggio. Which literally describes what it is- a hydro i.e. water massage.

The history of the Jacuzzi (pronounced yah-COOT-see in Italian) is very interesting. They came from Friuli in Northeastern Italy about a hundred years ago, ending up in California. There were seven brothers (don't know if they got seven brides...) who at first did all sorts of menial labor, including picking fruit. From there, the brothers developed an assortment of entrepreneurial ideas, from anti-frost mechanisms for fruit groves to jets. Then, inspired by a relative's juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and the ancient Roman tradition of baths, they came up with the application of water jets to warm water- in other words, the jacuzzi.

Read more about it here.