Gold Panning As Therapeutic and Healing

Kelowna BC

Kelowna BC

“The short motions ranging out to large ones in panning for gold is great physio therapy… And activity is cancer and disease fighting.  Cold water immersion is healthy and healing – in fact most top athletes have cold water baths (including ice cubes) – so immersing yourself in a cool stream may have unknown or unresearched advantages.” ~ Colleen

Before I publish the next part on Sluice Boxes – Riffleless Systems, I want to share a touching story and testimonial from Colleen, a client from Kelowna BC, about how gold panning and working with the Pyramid Pro Pan in particular has helped her therapeutically with cancer recovery. ~The Fossicker


Gold Panning As Therapeutic and Healing

  by Colleen

My name is Colleen, and I grew up being extremely active. I loved being outside – hiking or trail riding or traveling. A few months ago I noticed that I wasn’t able to use my hands as freely as I once had. They were not only weak, but fine motor movements were becoming increasingly difficult. I began to struggle to do everyday activities. Long story short – I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My life radically changed in a short amount of time. I was losing the ‘joy’ of life. I felt largely stuck inside the house, and dependent on others for a lot of tasks that I used to easily be able to accomplish by myself.

I often found myself extremely frustrated that I could not seem to do even the simplest of tasks. I was demoralized and depressed. I decided that I needed to do something to improve my own quality of life. There is a stream right beside my residence that is gold-bearing. It is legal to pan the creek, so I thought I would get a little gold pan, and see what happened.

Being out, in nature, with the sun shining and the creek’s gentle gurgle was refreshing. I believe that nature has a way of healing the body – and I could feel a sense of strength and calm outdoors that I had been missing.

I struggle with keeping attention and focus, so having a task (gold panning) kept me outside longer (otherwise I would have gotten ‘bored’ or sick and would have returned indoors to lie on the couch.). I found a traditional pan aggravating, as holding it was hard (soooo many dropped pans!), and it took too long to get the overburden off. I also found it hard to separate the gold from the black sand and heavier compounds. It was also hard on my body. It was frustrating physically and emotionally – but I loved being outside!

Enter the pyramid pro pan. Now, I understand that when the Fossicker designed this pan, he did not intentionally design it for mobility impaired people – but it is perfect for people who have limited use of their limbs (as well as mental deficits!). The bars (or handles) are perfect for people whose hands are compromised – they are easy to grip in several different ‘holds’ (which are easy to modify), and the design of the pan is basically fool proof! Moreover, because the pan essentially floats in the water (as opposed to the way you need to support a traditional pan) it takes less of a toll on the body. (You don’t need as much strength or endurance.). The Fossicker has also put a lot of thought on how to support the pan with your body (resting arms on legs). I have found that if my legs are sore, that I can use the frame of the chair I bring to support my arms. The design of the pan also makes it easy to rest. I just set it between a couple rocks, and it holds itself upright (which is great for loading it as well!).

The Fossicker with the Pyramid Pro Pan

The Fossicker with the Pyramid Pro Pan

One of the major benefits of the pyramid pro is also how much material it can hold, and how quickly it processes material! I think I would have given up on gold panning if I had stuck to a traditional gold pan. But this is quick, easy, and you can seriously go through a lot of material in a short time, with minimal effort. The constant rotation of ‘jobs’ keeps me going, rather than losing focus. I also believe that I was loosing a lot of gold out of the traditional pan, whereas now I feel like I am retaining all, or at least the vast majority, of it.

It doesn’t take a lot of skill to operate – if the gold is there, it will be in the pan at the end of the day. A traditional gold pan actually takes a bit of technique, and a steady hand. And focus. The pyramid pro is so simple to use, and I don’t really think there is any way to screw it up, or – even better- to break it.

I used to come home with a quart or more of concentrate every day, because it was too frustrating to pan out. But between the pyramid pro and the maverick, I come home with less than a teaspoon of gold and gems, and black sand. (I want to keep some of the black sand for a project.).

I still feel like I have done something, and gotten some exercise and fresh air that I otherwise would not have gotten. It has given me a purpose to get outside. I also believe that the more I push and use my body, the less mobility I choose to give up. (Don’t get me wrong, there are good days, bad days, and a general slow decline, but I am NOT going to surrender. And this helps me fight!)

I still drop the pan occasionally – but I don’t lose all of my hard work because the design of the pan is such that it has always landed right-side up, and the riffles, or perhaps the depth of the pan, have kept my hard earned pay dirt from completely flying out! (Not to mention that all the ‘good stuff’ is probably in the bottom anyways – so there is probably a greatly reduced chance that anything major has gone flying out!). Moreover, you can fill the pan again and again without emptying it!

I credit the pyramid pro pan with changing my life. Even if I am really not feeling good, I try to go out and at least do one full ‘pan’. Often, once I get out there, I am distracted enough by the possibilities that I stay longer than I had intended. The fresh air and activity is making me stronger and healthier – not to mention the joy and relaxation gold panning offers!

The pyramid pro pan has taken away the major obstacles I found with gold panning. First of all, it is not as tedious. Secondly, the pan is a lot less effort, for a lot bigger pay out. And thirdly, it is so simple to operate that even if my body is not responding well, I can still get out and have a good time (without feeling like a failure). I think it has restored some self confidence and independence in my life. Truly an invaluable asset – I can’t even clearly express my thanks, or how it has impacted my life.

Okanogan_RiverI moved to a new city because I was ill (access to treatment). Gold panning has helped me to meet a lot of people. There is a walking trail right along the creek, and people often stop to chat and see if I have ‘gotten anything’. There are also a lot of fellow panners. The social interaction is reviving. I have always been a people person, and the more limited I became, the less I got out. But now I am proud to show what I have found, as well as how I have found it. Often people can’t even tell that I have impairments. And I often don’t even tell them. I often felt discounted because of my limitations. Now I feel empowered as to what I can do.

I would strongly encourage anyone with mobility issues to consider this pan. The method is easily adaptable to any number of mental or physical challenges. And the pride and freedom from being able to do this by yourself… There are no words to truly express the rewards.

Kelowna BC
October 2014


copyright © 2014 Gold Pan Prospector /

About The Fossicker

Dennis Katz - Inventor of the Pyramid Pro Pan and Maverick Finishing Pan and sluice boxes. FOSSICKERS / Gold Pan Prospectors aims to supply the best finishing gold pan and production gold pan for prospecting.
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4 Responses to Gold Panning As Therapeutic and Healing

  1. Sonny Knight says:

    I’m participating in the Blogging 101 class and todays assignment is to find 5 topics and 5 blogs to follow. Your blog came up under gold prospecting. I hope to see more of your posts.


  2. Howdy Sonny,
    I hope you will enjoy my Blog now and in the future. Cheers.


  3. Scott says:

    This is great! I’m loving the outdoor photos and the bright colors coming off your prospecting equipment. Honestly, it’s just as therapeutic thinking about it. My time is mostly spent metal detecting, looking for relics. Nevertheless, there are few times in which I’m ticked off and not relaxed. The majority of the time, being out there in the elements, the peace and quite, the fresh air, there is little else better in this world.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing. I’ve added your blog to my favorites. Any others you can recommend? I’ll probably comment on some of your older posts if I have a question or something in particular I’d like to share.


    • Howdy Scott,
      Sorry for my delayed response. I do thank you for yours. I just heard from Colleen the other day and she is still alive and kicking. I know that we all wish her the best and many of us know how the great outdoors helps to heal the body and mind. I hope to hear more from her again soon on this Blog. Cheers.


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