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 first instrument received 510(k) clearance in 1997.1

Activator Adjustment Instrument Research

In a study that conducted a systematic review of the literature investigating clinical outcomes involving the use of the Activator Adjusting Instrument, 8 articles reported benefits to patients with spinal pain. When compared to the use of high-velocity, low-amplitude manual manipulation (Diversified technique), the benefits of the Activator Adjusting Instrument were not proven to be better or worse.2

The Activator Method is one of the most widely researched chiropractic techniques. However, most of the research has been funded by the Method's developer, and most of the studies were conducted in small groups of patients. Independent studies with large patient groups are needed to determine efficacy with any significance.


  • 1.FDA 510(k) Approval for Activator Methods Inc. Accessed June 18, 2013.
  • 2.Huggins T, Boras AL, Gleberzon BJ, et al. Clinical effectiveness of the activator adjusting instrument in the management of musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012;56(1):49-57.