What is the Activator technique?

The Activator technique uses a small, hand-held instrument called the Activator Adjusting Instrument to deliver a gentle impulse force to the spine with the goal of restoring motion to the targeted spinal vertebra or joint. It is an alternative to the traditional manual form of spinal manipulation, known as the high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) thrust.

What to expect?

During a typical adjustment with the Activator, the chiropractor applies the Activator device to the tissues at or near the affected joint. An initial pressure is followed by a quick thrust from the device, which feels much like having one’s reflex tested by tapping your knee. The patient remains still, with no twisting or turning as there often is for a traditional chiropractic adjustment (high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust). After an adjustment, the chiropractor will often re-evaluate for correction of signs and symptoms associated with the complaint.

Is the Activator technique safe?

The FDA has approved the use of the Activator Adjusting Instrument for “chiropractic adjustment of the spine and extremities” based on a number of clinical studies with positive outcomes indicating that the instrument is effective and safe.


The Activator Method is one of the most widely-researched chiropractic techniques and the only instrument adjusting technique with 23 clinical trials to support its efficacy. Activator Methods has published hundreds of clinical and scientific peer-reviewed papers, worked with major academic research institutions, and received grants from recognized entities like the National Institutes of Health.

Why use the Activator method?

– Measured force: a gentle way of adjusting, making it perfect for babies and the elderly. – Speed: Because of the instrument’s speed, the muscles that are treated are less likely to tense up. This means no discomfort during the adjustment. – No clicking and cracking: some patients are uneasy or dislike the sound during a conventional manipulation. – Decreased chance of post-treatment soreness.