Gemma Collins embraces ‘extreme sub-zero therapy’ after heart attack scare

Gemma Collins has looked to sub-zero cryotherapy in a bid to “shock her system” back to health after long Covid symptoms made her convinced she was dying of a heart attack.

The 42-year-old reality star contracted the virus last year and she has been suffering from the side effects ever since. Only last month, Gemma revealed she had to ring for an ambulance and thought she was going to die.

“The palpitations got so bad I thought I was having a heart attack,” she says. “I called an ambulance and the paramedics did an ECG [electrocardiogram] and said, ‘We need to take you to hospital.’

“I said to myself, ‘Great, this is it. My time is up.’ But, thank God, it was a condition called costochondritis, which can cause severe chest pain and happens because of coughing or an infection. I think I got it from being constantly run down and ill. I do think I’ve got long Covid because I haven’t been able to shift it and it’s been in my system for months. I’ve been so unwell and it doesn’t matter what I take or do, it’s not going.”

In a bid to beat it, Gemma has been having ice cryo spa sessions, which she recently posted about on Instagram.

“I’ve been going for loads of sessions at Ice Health Cryotherapy in Kensington and I use this thermal shock machine, which you get into standing up and your head pops out of the top. It goes from a temperature of +70C to -196C in seconds. Cryotherapy helps with any illness and it really boosts your immune system,” she tells us, adding, “I’d love my own machine at home but they’re about £250,000 to buy.”

Common symptoms of long Covid include breathlessness, fatigue, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression, which can last months after contracting the virus. “It took me seven weeks to get over it,” Gemma says.

Advice from TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith has also been instrumental in Gemma’s recovery. The pair have become firm friends since meeting in the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2016, and Gillian has previously praised Gemma for her 3st weight loss.

“She’s been a life-saver,” declares Gemma. “I met her last week and she said to me, “You’ve got to take Zinc and vitamin C every day. She’s got all the tips.”

Gemma was recently in south Wales for 48 hours to explore her Welsh roots as part of the TV show More Than Daffs And Taffs, but was forced to complete filming back at her converted barn in Epping Forest because of her ongoing chest infection.

Although she found fame starring in TOWIE, Gemma reveals she’s never happier than being out in the country, away from “toxic people and toxic environments”. She explains, “One of my hairdressers didn’t have five minutes to look around my home after I’d had it all redone. It’s a shame but it’s more of a shame for him, not me. Where I live now is very different to TOWIE.“

Now, I don’t really see many people and I’m particular about who I have around me. I protect my energy, honey. Humans are not always nice and there are very strange people in the world. And I don’t want to be around them and have any negativity. I have to protect myself and my body as much as I can.”

However, Gemma says the Welsh people couldn’t have been more friendly.

“When word went around I was there, I was welcomed with open arms. I actually have Welsh blood in me from my fingers to my toes. I really felt close to my late nan, Mildred, when I was there, so I felt a bit emotional.”

“It was fascinating to learn more about my roots. I discovered that my granddad used to work with Tom Jones down the mines before he was famous. My grandfather used to pick him up in the morning in the work van. I’ve not bumped into Tom yet but the minute I do, I’m gonna be saying, ‘Hey, what about you and my granddad down the mines!’ What a story. I wonder if they sang down there. I bet they did.”

Gemma believes this is also where she gets her singing voice from. “I don’t want to be a pop star but I would like to do the Eurovision next year and represent Wales,” she reveals.

“Who knows, I might even have moved there by then. At the moment, though, I’ve got my eye on moving to Surrey. Sam Faiers lives there. I do feel like I’ve totally outgrown Essex.”

The boxset of More Than Daffs And Taffs is available on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and YouTube


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