This depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. A light, relaxing massage that doesn’t probe very deep into the muscles shouldn’t hurt. At the same time, the light massage won’t be able to work out any stress that’s deep within those muscles. A muscle that is relaxed will be supple and soft and won’t hurt when rubbed. With that being said, there is a “feels good” hurt and an “ouch, stop it” hurt. Muscles that are tight, and in many cases have been chronically tight for a long time, may have that “good hurt” feeling with a deeper massage. Think of that “good hurt” as the feeling you get when you stretch a sore muscle during exercise or a yawn. Muscles can be very sore from overuse or tightness, and that good hurt can become painful. A good massage, even a really deep tissue massage, should always stay in the “feels good” hurt range, which is known as therapeutic pain.
Sharp or sudden “ouch” pain can be an indication that the muscle is possibly injured or inflamed and pressure and/or technique should be adjusted. Also, pain can cause you to tighten up and negate the relaxing effects of the massage. The most effective and deepest massage always works with your body’s natural response, not against it. A deep massage with tight muscles may leave some residual soreness the next day, like a good workout might.