Objectives: The purposes of this study were to develop a pain management model using traditional medicine (TM) vodou healing methods; to survey a sample of French dentists to rate components of conventional and proposed TM vodou-based pain management model; and to assess the possibility of conventional, allopathic providers to integrate TM or complementary and alternative medicine concepts.
Methods: From a set of 30 fact sheets collected from TM African healers (vodou healers), main clinical concepts and terminology were extracted. Twenty vodou-based pain management concepts were collected from an interview with a TM vodou practitioner. From this information, a 7-step vodou-based pain management model was created. A sample of 40 French dentists from Nantes, France, whose practices focused on the clinical treatment of dental pain, was surveyed to assess the importance of both TM (vodou) and conventional biomedical components.
Results: Seventy percent of the dentists sampled rated the rational components of the TM model as “very important” or “important” for pain treatment, whereas 2 other traditional concepts were considered to be “supernatural” or beyond understanding.
Conclusion: This study showed that traditional healers used conventional concepts and conventional practitioners could use traditional concepts. This suggests that conventional allopathic medical providers have the capacity to integrate biomedical concepts and other therapeutic and explanatory models. This information may be helpful to understand and improve risk management by anticipating and preventing potential reasons for failure in TM integration strategies and to enhance communication between patients, healers, and physicians to optimize TM or complementary and alternative medicine integration.
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