How to Open Drainage Pathways?

by | Feb 2, 2024 | Promoting Gut Health

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Wondering how to open drainage pathways in the body? Making our natural waste removal system work more efficiently requires targeting more than just the lymphatic system.

Too many articles only talk about drainage through the lymphoids. Yet, multiple other systems are involved, from the mitochondria inside our cells to the glymphatic mechanisms in the central nervous system.

Those unfamiliar with these systems are not alone. Learn more about the full range of drainage pathways and detox pathways in the body and how to improve their efficiency in this guide.

Drainage vs. Detox

Drainage pathways are part of the body’s natural detox system. However, they differ from other detoxification pathways in important ways. Below, get an overview of the different systems in the body’s natural drainage and detox pathways.

Drainage Pathways

The body’s drainage pathways also contribute to detoxification. One of these pathways is the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system’s primary function is to rid the body of infectious toxins and dead cells.

The biliary system assists with draining the body’s fluids. It consists of bile ducts, which are tiny capillaries that transport waste from the digestive system to the biliary system’s organs for cleansing.

The small and large intestines are also crucial for drainage. Undigested foods that sit in the colon for too long can back up, entering the bloodstream. These toxins may then lead to unwanted symptoms, including chronic constipation.

Other crucial components in the drainage process are mitochondria in the cells and the brain’s glymphatic system. We will talk about these drainage pathways in more depth, but first, we want to give you a quick glimpse into the body’s natural detox mechanisms.

Detox Pathways

Detoxification, or detox, is the process of eliminating toxins from the body. The body primarily detoxes via the liver and kidneys. The digestive system, skin, lungs, and drainage pathways also play a role.

Many experts suggest that promoting drainage is the first step of any effective detox. The theory behind this suggestion is that these pathways can become clogged with toxins. Without cleansing drainage pathways first, detox may not be as effective.

Signs of Stagnant Drainage Pathways

Overexposure to toxins, dehydration, and an unhealthy lifestyle can compromise the lymphatic system and other critical drainage pathways. In extreme cases, an unhealthy lymphatic system can cause lymphedema. This medical condition can be painful, disabling, or even life-threatening.

Even if someone’s symptoms do not progress to lymphedema, they may still experience symptoms of stagnant lymph. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cellulite accumulation
  • Puffiness
  • Swelling in the extremities
  • Constipation
  • Stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Feeling heavy
  • Pressure
  • Slowed healing
  • Fluid retention
  • Difficulty sweating
  • Low energy
  • Skin issues
  • Brain fog
  • Migraine

Without improving the drainage system’s function, complications may result. For example, poorly functioning lymph pathways are linked to obesity, increased risk of infection, compromised immunity, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

The Internal Drainage Pathway

Waste moves through the body in a precise order, beginning with the cells. The mitochondria may be best known for their role in energy production. However, these tiny powerhouses also manage and dispose of metabolic waste.

The kidneys and the liver do not just play a role in detoxification in general. They are also crucial organs in the drainage pathway. The kidneys remove toxins from the blood and excrete them via urine, while the liver breaks down toxins it receives from the blood and the intestines.

The next internal drainage pathway is the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system transports waste to the bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes, spleen, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue. From there, the lymph travels through the lymphatic vessels to the collecting ducts located in the chest.
At the same time this occurs, the liver and bile ducts filter out toxins from the digestive tract. The liver and bile ducts are part of the biliary system. The gallbladder and small intestine are two other organs important to the biliary system’s function.

The large intestine is the final stop in the internal drainage pathway. Also known as the colon, the large intestine is part of the digestive system. Along with other functions, the digestive system removes waste products from digested food and passes these toxins along to be eliminated as stool.

anatomical representation of digestive organs

What Are the Organs Associated With Detoxification?

The organs associated with detoxification are the intestines, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, glymphatic system, lymphatic system, lungs, and skin. Each organ plays a unique role, with the kidney and liver being the most essential.

Intestines

The large and small intestines are critical components of the digestive system. They are responsible for breaking down food, taking up essential nutrients, and eliminating toxic or indigestible food waste.

The small intestine is responsible for producing digestive acids that break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This organ also exchanges water and nutrients to and from the bloodstream.

The large intestine plays a similar role. It captures water from digested food and delivers it to the bloodstream. Bacteria living in the large intestine also capture extra nutrients, and the colon then passes leftover waste as stools.

Liver

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It has many functions, including producing cholesterol, regulating glucose and protein, and creating multiple components of blood.

It also plays a critical role in the immune system’s function. Namely, the liver clears toxic substances, including ammonia, and filters bacteria from the bloodstream.

As part of the biliary system, the liver also secretes bile. Bile flows into bile ducts and then to the gallbladder. When someone ingests food, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine to help with the digestive process.

Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small organ located directly beneath the liver. As we just described, the liver excretes bile, which ultimately flows into the gallbladder.

Every time someone eats, the gallbladder undergoes a contraction. This contraction results in the release of bile.

The bile travels into a part of the small intestine known as the duodenum. The duodenum is the first portion of the small intestine where nutrient absorption begins.

Kidneys

The kidneys act as the body’s filtration system. They capture toxins and other waste products from the blood and get rid of them via urine. These critical organs also help to maintain the blood’s pH level by eliminating acids.

Without the kidneys, the body would not be able to maintain the careful balance of water, salts, and minerals in the blood. In addition to these functions, the kidneys are crucial for controlling blood pressure and producing red blood cells.

Glymphatics

The central nervous system has a drainage pathway similar to the body’s. It is known as the glymphatic system. The glymphatic system clears away cellular waste, soluble proteins, and other metabolites from the brain and spinal cord.

Lymphatics

A watery fluid called lymph travels through lymphatic vessels, which exist throughout the body. The intestines, spleen, tonsils, and other lymphatic system organs connect these vessels.

Lymph’s ultimate destination is the right lymphatic duct and thoracic duct in the chest. However, lymph nodes must first purify this liquid before it can get there. Lymph nodes are located in the neck, groin, armpit, and other areas deeper within the body.

Lungs

The lungs play a role in detoxification by breathing out gases that are toxic to the body. One of the main gases excreted from the lungs is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is toxic to human cells.

Other roles the lungs play in the detox system include providing oxygen to the body’s cells and producing the coughing response to protect the body from harmful substances.

Skin

Finally, the skin keeps toxins in water-based products from getting into the body. It also pushes out toxins the liver, kidneys, and lungs don’t want by sweating these harmful substances out.

Reducing Toxic Load

Improving the function of natural detox and drainage pathways can reduce toxins in the body. Toxins in water, food, household products, and even the air we breathe can lead to countless health complications. These health complications may include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Digestive system conditions

A high toxic load can even increase someone’s risk of death. Prevent these health consequences by learning how to open drainage pathways to support a more effective detox.

How to Open Drainage Pathways

Now that you understand the associated organs and their functions, you can start learning how to open your drainage pathways. Remember, cleansing the drainage pathways first is essential to an effective full-body detox.

Colon

Incorporating extra fiber into the diet is one of the best ways to cleanse the colon. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, too. Fiber and water work together to prevent constipation and get toxins moving through the gut.

Probiotics and fermented foods are also beneficial for the intestines. These supplements and probiotic-containing foods contain live bacterial cultures that can promote efficient digestion.

Liver Detox Pathways (Bile Ducts Included)

A diet rich in whole foods and low in processed sugars and trans fats can help promote a healthy biliary system. Castor oil is a traditional medicine that is available today in castor oil packs. When placed over the liver, they help move toxins through the liver to support a detox.

How to Open Lymphatic Pathways

Now that you understand the associated organs and their functions, you can start learning how to open your drainage pathways. Remember, cleansing the drainage pathways first is essential to an effective full-body detox.

Colon

Incorporating extra fiber into the diet is one of the best ways to cleanse the colon. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, too. Fiber and water work together to prevent constipation and get toxins moving through the gut.

Probiotics and fermented foods are also beneficial for the intestines. These supplements and probiotic-containing foods contain live bacterial cultures that can promote efficient digestion.

Liver Detox Pathways (Bile Ducts Included)

A diet rich in whole foods and low in processed sugars and trans fats can help promote a healthy biliary system. Castor oil is a traditional medicine that is available today in castor oil packs. When placed over the liver, they help move toxins through the liver to support a detox.

How to Open Lymphatic Pathways

The best ways to support a healthy lymphatic system are to avoid toxic chemical exposure, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and eat a nutritious diet.

Walking, rebounding, massage, and Epsom salt baths are also helpful.

Dry brushing may also help stimulate a stagnant lymphatic system. Get a body brush with natural bristles and make gentle movements toward the heart. Dry brushing works by improving the movement of lymph into the chest.

Another technique to try is alternating hot and cold showers. Heat causes lymphatic vessels to dilate, while cold makes them restrict. This technique may encourage stagnant lymph to flow.

Lungs

Supporting the lungs’ ability to filter out toxic gases is simple. Don’t smoke, get plenty of cardiovascular exercise, and avoid exposure to outdoor air pollutants. Deep breathing exercises and improving indoor air quality with filtration systems or a humidifier are other tips for improving lung health.

Kidneys

Filtered water is one of the most critical ingredients for healthy kidneys. Without enough filtered water, the kidneys cannot filter waste from the bloodstream efficiently. Other ways to increase water consumption are with herbal teas.

Reducing salt, alcohol, and NSAID intake can also protect the kidneys from damage. Heavy antibiotic use is also a risk factor for poor kidney health, so consider using herbal antimicrobials instead.

Brain

The brain’s glymphatic system is most active during sleep. So, getting good quantity and quality sleep is essential to proper waste elimination in the brain.

Studies in animals have also found that exercise may increase glymphatic system activity. Even if these results don’t translate to humans, regular physical activity promotes better sleep and, therefore, glymphatic system health.

Mitochondria

Mitochondria may seem so small that you can’t control how these cell powerhouses function. However, experts have created recommendations for doing just that.

For example, a highly nutritious diet, reduced toxin exposure, and increased muscle mass can prevent damage and optimize mitochondrial function. Exposing the body to red light may also help.

The Importance of Sleep for Your Drainage Pathways

Sleep is not just important for the health of the glymphatic system; studies show it is also essential for healthy mitochondria. During sleep, mitochondria undergo remodeling to restore balance. Ensuring proper temperature regulation is one way to promote better sleep and healthier cells.

While we are sleeping, the body also catches up on other aspects of detox. To optimize this process further, sleep in for an extra hour and a half to a full hour. You can also try sleeping on your side, which studies show may enhance the body’s natural detox and drainage pathways.

Get Customized Drainage and Detox Advice

Learning how to open drainage pathways is required for an effective full-body detox. Optimizing the lymphatic system, digestive tract, biliary system, and other critical drainage pathways is the first step to a healthier gut and a healthier you.

Are you looking for drainage and detox advice tailored to your or your patients’ unique gut health profile and lifestyle? Revolution Gut Health is here to help individuals and practitioners improve and rebalance the gut.

Schedule a consultation with our gut health experts today to get the customized recommendations you need.

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