When I hear the word “wellness,” I immediately think of Dr. Ana Aslan, whom I met in Romania, where she was born Jan. 1, 1897 and died May 20, 1988 at age 91. In 1952, she became general director of the National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics there. That institute was the first of its kind and was recognized by the World Health Organization.
As one of the pioneering scientists in medical gerontology and geriatrics, Aslan also focused on social gerontology. While investigating the pain-relieving effects of procaine on patients with arthritis, Aslan discovered that the drug also had beneficial side effects, such as improved skin and hair, better memory and a general feeling of well-being. She was the first to use procaine as an ingredient in antiaging products. The promise of prolonged youth, along with the testimonials of thousands of users, reached far beyond the borders of Romania.
Notable leaders such as Charles de Gaulle, President John F. Kennedy, Konrad Adenauer, Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh reportedly received this antiaging therapy. Other well-known celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich, Lillian Gish, the Gabor sisters, Charlie Chaplin, Kirk Douglas and Salvador Dali, were said to seek out Aslan at her Otopeni Clinic. Once discovered by celebrities, Gerovital H 3 (or procaine hydrochloride) became famous, and Aslan received many international awards for her scientific breakthroughs.
A staff of 1,000 doctors in more than 200 Romanian clinics still offers the antiaging remedy, later called Aslavital. Only the genuine Gerovital GH3 fully respects Aslan’s original formula, which has been said to alleviate stress, depression, osteoporosis, hypertension, age spots, varicose veins, poor eyesight, hair loss/baldness, Parkinson’s disease, allergies and many other ailments. (In our own country, the drug is unapproved and banned from interstate commerce and importation.)
Aslan dedicated her life to the research of slowing down and sometimes reversing the premature aging process. She was among the first to rule out a fatalistic approach to aging. As she said: “To be forever young is not to be 20 years old. It is to be optimistic, to feel good, to have an ideal in life for which to fight and conquer.”
For treating arthritis, rheumatism and internal and nervous disorders, Romania’s Black Sea coast is the place to go. The spas of the resort cities of Eforie and Mangalia specialize in mud baths, using the rich, black mud from Techirghiol Lake, the greatest salt lake in Romania. The spa offerings include mud baths as well as Gerovital and Aslavital rejuvenation treatments.
Many times when I was in Romania with our Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, giving concerts throughout the country, we would go to the mud baths.
With our bathing suits on, we covered ourselves with mud and floated on the Black Sea.