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A debate article summarising (mostly verbatim) a correspondence that Professor Edzard Ernst had about the possibility of conducting research into a form of 'energy healing'. Professor Ernst concluded: "This debate would be largely irrelevant if it were not such a typical example of its kind. I am regularly approached by people who invite me to conduct research. If I then try to direct them towards a rigorous test of their basic hypothesis, it turns out they have very little interest in doing science. My explanations usually fall on deaf ears and I am left with the impression that there never was any will to conduct research in the first place. The motivation to approach me, it seems, was not research but promotion. And there is another feature that makes this debate typical: the strength of the assertion that the phenomena to be investigated are real is inversely proportional to the plausibility of the claims that are being made." Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies [FACT] (March 2009)