Relief through relaxation

Jean-Bernard Maye

Photo By Larry Dalton

Nestled in a J Street Victorian, you’ll find Salon De Arcelia. It is there that a modest Jean-Bernard Maye has been using alternative healing techniques to help people relax for the last nine years. The world-traveled and extensively trained Maye found relief in alternative medicine decades ago and has been working to help people do the same ever since. He talked with SN&R recently about the work he and his wife, Arcelia, have been doing in their eclectic and homey salon.

You’ve lived all over the world. How did you and Arcelia come to live in Sacramento?

We met in Cancun. I lived in Iowa, so we had a long-distance relationship for almost a year. She came to see me a couple of times. I came to see her a few more times, and I moved here. At the time, I worked for a university doing construction and repairs. I wanted to go to massage school. The university I worked for did a lot of ayurveda. That is a big health-oriented program. The university seemed to be a good way to go at the time. We ate ayurveda. We slept ayurveda. We mediated ayurveda. Everything was ayurveda. I was interested in taking the training, but ayurveda takes several years to complete the training. But I met Arcelia, and everything seemed to work out together, so we went to massage school. We went together; that was fun. And we got certified as reflexologists.

How did you end up at a university committed to ayurveda?

In the ‘70s, I got interested in meditation—transcendental meditation—and I became a teacher of transcendental meditation at a center in Orange County.

What kind of work are you doing here in your shop on J street?

We do therapeutic massages. It’s very important people understand it is therapeutic, that it is for longevity, good health and prevention. We do mostly deep tissue. There is confusion about what we do. It isn’t just somebody touching your skin. What we do is deeper. It goes all the way down to the bones.

Tell me more about reflexology.

In reflex therapy, there is a map of the whole body on your feet—also on your hands and your ears. It’s been used for ages; all over the world, if you have a problem, if you have somewhere where there is pain, they will know which point in your feet to work. The system we like to use is the holistic system. We don’t like to do one point. We like to do the whole foot, so you can balance the energy throughout the whole system.

You have a sign in your salon saying that because you have been blessed, you offer “free healings” once a month. What is that about?

We have gone to Brazil to see a healer, and we found out that it was very nice. The healing didn’t cost anything. The healer sees you three times a week. You go into this place—it is like a clinic; they call it a spiritual clinic. A lot of people do a lot of praying, and when you need healing, you go into a line, and you go in front of the healer. He does whatever he does. Then you are directed to different rooms, and there is a group healing. Some of them, he does a physical healing. He actually does things that most of us in the United States would be afraid of because he opens up the body. So, for three days you go there; it is kind of a peaceful environment. Since we like the environment, and we like the energy that is there, we just asked if it was all right to do the same thing here, and we were told we could.

Obviously, you won’t be opening anybody up, so what can a person expect for the healings you and Arcelia offer?

It is a very simple technique of passing the hands over the body. It can be said you are working with the electromagnetic field by just putting the hands over a person. We separate the therapeutic massage from the healing. The healing we do for free once a month on the third Saturday of the month.

Why would somebody want to have their electromagnetic field played with?

You the person knows the benefit. It isn’t something I do. I am just the vessel to pass on the energy. My thought is that this energy is going to heal you, and we just pass on the energy. It is the same when we use the crystal bowl. It has different sounds, a different frequency, and that frequency adapts to the body. It is not easy to define, to analyze, exactly what happens. You are the person that experiences it. Most people, if not all people that lie on the table, have a relaxing feeling, a feeling of calmness. It isn’t easy to translate. It has something to do more with your mind. We like that feeling. We like to pass it on. We enjoy the feeling, and it was given free to us, and we pass it on free.