The first Activator Technique device was developed in 1967 by Dr. Arlan Fuhr and was later patented in 1978. It has since been approved by the FDA as both effective and safe for use as a medical device. This technique is the second-most commonly used method of chiropractic care, following a manual adjustment. Roughly 70% of all chiropractors make use of it, often combined with other options and methods.
The difference between the activator method and other methods of chiropractic care is that rather than hand-based pressures, the instrument uses rubber pistons to effect spinal adjustments. The device is adjusted to produce a specific amount of force that allows for precise corrections to the spine with minimal risk of discomfort or injury.
In normal manual adjustment, patients tend to stiffen up in anticipation of pressure, which can make the adjustment more difficult and introduce complications. This tendency to tighten up is lessened with the use of an activator device, which is also exceptionally precise in its application of force.