Why You Should Clear the Common Bile Duct: A Necessary Protocol for Your Treatments

By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD

Why You Should Clear the Common Bile Duct: A Necessary Protocol for Your Treatments

By Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD

A Necessary Protocol for Your Treatments

Fresh blood is our body's most precious healing resource containing oxygen, nutrients, and hormones. In order for us to assist the upward return of venous blood and lymphatic fluids to the heart / lung complex we need to prioritize draining the downward flow of bile, pancreatic enzymes and juices into the duodenal portion of the small intestine.

This is accomplished by a simple myofascial stretching of the Common Bile Duct (CBD). Other techniques may be necessary to achieve a more complete therapeutic effect, but stretching the CBD is the cornerstone of helping to improve the digestive and absorption efficiency of what we eat and drink. 

Stretching the CBD

When bile and pancreatic fluids don't reach the duodenum in a timely fashion, their congestion is proposed to ignite inflammatory cycles, which impede the upward flow of the raw materials from the abdomen, pelvis and lower extremities needed for the production of new blood.

When clients present with chronic somatic dysfunctions, stretching and clearing the CBD is an essential skill to employ. I have done so with each and every client over the past 32 years.

Few of us consider that our species' evolution, especially in Northern Europe, was severely challenged during the last ice age known as the Younger Dryas, which occurred about 13,000 years ago. Bitter cold was the daily reality that the anatomy and physiology of our progenitors were challenged to adapt to in order to survive.Digestive efficiency became a primary factor. Evolution's natural selection process selected for any trait that might improve the chance of survival in the face of this environmental adversity.1 Efficient digestion and absorption creates readily available energy and stored energy in the form of fat. Fat insulated us from the bitter cold. Its stored energy was essentially our pantry during times of famine.

Evolution & Diabetes

Sharon Moelem's book, "Survival of the Sickest," speaks to this premise of how our fat metabolism tailored itself to promote our species' survival there and then. And, though a highly controversial theory, evolution's selections then may indeed have left many of our population with a pre-disposition for developing diabetes.1

Two additional factors add weight to this premise. First, it has been observed that the liver, gall bladder, CBD, pancreas, and especially the extra-hepatic ducts, have more anomalies than any other organ system in the body.2 Second, I have had more clients speak to the reason for a parent's death being related to anomalies of the gall bladder or pancreas, or of the ducts related to these organs than any other reason, including heart disease and cancer. These were clients who presented with exceptionally stubborn chronic difficulties.

Let's walk through the basics of digestion related to the CBD. Bile and its many constituents are derivatives of cholesterol synthesized in the liver. Bile is stored in the gall bladder where it concentrates itself. Bile and pancreatic enzymes work together to break down fats and fat soluble vitamins.

The phospholipids in bile function as a detergent to break up larger fat globules allowing the pancreatic enzymes to more effectively break down the smaller droplets into their constituent parts thus, allowing for their absorption.3 As bile flows through the bile ducts it is modified by the addition of a watery, bicarbonate-rich secretion from ductal epithelial cells.3

Thus, bile functions to alkalize the chyme which was initially digested within the acidic environment of the stomach. Effective digestion and absorption of what we consume require that all of the constituent elements that make up bile and pancreatic enzymes and juices flow through the CBD and into the duodenum.

Cholesterol & Bile

A problem can result from cholesterol precipitating out of bile while being concentrated within the gall bladder. This precipitation can either result in the formation of a cholesterol sludge or in the accumulation of very small to larger gall stones which are a combination of cholesterol and calcium salts.3-4 The net result is that the flow of bile and of pancreatic enzymes and juices are slowed, reaching the small intestines with less volume, or sometimes not at all.

What happens to the bile and pancreatic fluids that are unable to flow into the small intestine? Opinions vary on this subject. What makes sense is that congestion of these digestive fluids eventually ignites inflammatory cycles. This may occur within the common bile duct itself, the gall bladder, the pancreas, or the liver.

My clinical experience suggests that inflammatory cycles of any of these organs contributes to systemic blood congestion that perpetuate chronic somatic dysfunctions. This occurs because these organs sit directly on top of the low pressure vessels that convey venous and lymphatic fluids back to the heart. Once inflamed, any or all may slow the flow by exerting pressure against these vessels.

Congested bile or pancreatic fluids can also potentially back up within the pancreas resulting in chronic inflammation, or I speculate advancing the destruction of the islets of Langerhans which secrete insulin.5 Pancreatic juices and enzymes will break down substances wherever they find themselves. This begs the question as to whether our nation's epidemic of type 2 diabetes has a plumbing component to its progression toward becoming a named disease. My clinical experiences suggest that one simple technique can make a therapeutic difference: clearing the common bile duct, thus allowing both bile and pancreatic fluids to flow into the duodenum as nature intended them.

The simple myofascial technique to stretch and clear the CBD will be described as well as further discussion of its contributions to systemic congestion in the next article of this column.


  1. Moalem S, Prince J. Survival of the Sickest. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008.
  2. Ginsberg G, Ahmad N. The Clinician's Guide to Pancreaticobiliary Disorders. Thorofare, New Jersey: Slack Incorporated, 2006.
  3. Siddiqui A. Liver: Liver and Gallbladder Disorders. Merck Manual, 2018.
  4. Jungst C, et al. Microlithiasis and sludge. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, 2006;20(6):pp. 1053-1062.
  5. Frequently Asked Questions About Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases, Cedars-Sinai; Feb 2018.