As a massage therapist, people often ask me if massages are painful or if they need to be painful to be effective.
Will It Hurt When Getting Massaged?
The whole purpose of massage is to release tension, enabling the client to feel more relaxed than they did before the massage. So in short, the answer is no, it shouldn't and most likely won't be painful.
As a client you should never feel beat up or bruised. When massaging to release trigger points and work out knots, the massage therapist shouldn't go past a "hurts so good" feeling. Sore areas are just that, sore and tender -- there's no need to make them worse.
When a therapist is working on those tender spots it should be more relieving than agonizing.
That hurts-so-good point is different for everyone. Some clients like work so deep that they can feel it in their bones. Other clients want the light, broad, effluerage type stokes, and any more pressure than that is uncomfortable.
The bottom line is to communicate to your therapist. Don't be afraid to speak up if they are using too much pressure or if it feels jabby and sharp.
Our goal as therapists is to help you feel better, so if what we are doing isn't working, let us know. A good therapist will listen to you and adjust the massage accordingly.