【明報專訊】We usually consider someone difficult to handle when they are moody. By that we mean it is hard to predict if the person will be in a good or bad mood when we encounter them. In this sense, moodiness is considered a negative state of being. But there is another usage of the word, which refers to atmospheric moodiness. Have you ever walked into a room and, without anyone saying or doing anything in particular, sensed certain vibes stirring your feelings? If the vibes you sense are calm, peaceful, joyous, you feel at ease. However, if what you sense is an ambience of hostility, you instantly feel threatened. The atmosphere in the room, you may say, has a certain mood about it. In this sense, atmospheric moodiness can be positive, negative, or neutral. While we may not be able to change someone's mood, atmospheric moods can be created. In 1937, Frenchman René Maurice Gattefossé, who was a chemist, coined the term "aromatherapy". After a laboratory accident burned his arm, he plunged it into the nearest liquid he could find — a container of lavender oil — and discovered that his pain immediately subsided. Over time, the oil promoted healing without blistering or scarring. Inspired by this discovery, Gattefossé dedicated his life to researching the healing properties of lavender and other essential oils, and laid the groundwork for aromatherapy as we know it today. Today, aromatherapy has become more and more popular in Hong Kong. We receive it either through massage or by spreading the scent of essential oils through a diffuser placed at home or in the office.