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Activator technique

The Activator Method is a low-force chiropractic technique and one of the most widely used modalities available.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: September 28, 2012

The Activator Method is a low-force chiropractic technique—and one of the top two most commonly used ones around the world at that. More than 70 percent of all chiropractors utilize The Activator Method in their practice.

The Activator Method draws upon orthopedic, neurological and chiropractic research to treat joint problems located in the spine and extremities (think the wrists, knees, ankles, etc.). It is based on the theory that an analysis of the length of a patient's legs, as well as the activity of the spine and extremities, can determine whether or not a chiropractic adjustment is necessary. Considered a low-force chiropractic modality, treatment is carried out through the use of a device called an Activator Adjusting Instrument®.

The origins of activator technique: The Activator Method Chiropractic Technique® is the brainchild of co-founder Dr. Arlan W. Fuhr, DC. He is the co-inventor of the Activator Adjusting Instrument®.

Benefits Of Activator Technique

Ongoing research continues as to how the Activator protocol can be used to address TMJ, inflammation, lumbar disc herniation, neurological conditions and other dysfunctions that may be effectively treated through this low-force chiropractic adjustment method. The Activator Method may be especially useful for geriatric and pediatric patients.

What To Expect

The patient first lies face down in a prone position on an examination table. The attending chiropractor will compare the lengths of the patient's legs and test specific points along the spine and pelvis, looking for inequalities and imbalances (a "pelvic deficiency" or "functional short leg") in the body. A series of muscular tests may also be performed, in which the patient is asked to move various body parts according to the chiropractor's direction, thereby activating specific muscles and joints.

Specialized equipment: The Activator Adjusting Instrument® is a specialized low-force tool that makes minor adjustments to a patient's spine and the supporting structures. The hand-held device delivers a consistent "tap" along several points of the body. Each tap is considered a chiropractic adjustment.

Recommended sessions: The number of sessions required will depend on the patient's individual problem as well as their wellness needs and goals. A typical adjustment session lasts approximately 15 minutes. An initial session, however, may take longer, as a patient history and full physical examination will often precede the adjustment.


The Activator Method is considered a low-risk treatment. The low-force instrument offers a safe, relatively painless mode of chiropractic care. It does not involve twisting or joint stress.

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